On my first visit to the psychic she told me that my aura was pink.
I was there at her house on business, of a sort. I was there to find out what sort of home she had made for her children and how best we could help them.
Following the cue of neighbors who had grown concerned, I sat in the family home and found it to be quite pleasant. Different and wondrous were the words that came to my mind. Not concerning.
Her four children were at school on my first visit and she had me sit near the window. Outside I could see a scruffy old grey horse grazing in a pasture. On the table lie a pendulum, a deck of cards and a remote control for a television that I did not see. There were books on a shelf and colored pencils in an empty can. On the wall behind me was a black velvet panel with a pink orchid in its center. On the wall across from me was a piece of paper taped to the wall. On it, a list with the heading “House Rules.”
I did not follow the usual protocol. I ignored the standard questions and started by asking how she had come to know she was psychic.
“I’ve known that is what I am since I was young. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I knew that this is what I was to do,” she said. “I just knew it.”
She told me that she often listened to a late night radio show where callers could phone in questions to a psychic. One night she heard a woman asking the psychic a question about trying to find her estranged daughter. She recognized her mother’s voice, a voice she had not heard for more than ten years, when the two had a nasty disagreement related to the man the mother was living with at the time. She had moved far away then and had never been back. When she heard her mother’s voice, she picked up the phone and called in. Ultimately, they reconnected.
Until that time she had made her way with a lot of luck and happenstance and a certain amount of hard work. The fathers of the children had come and gone. She had cooked at a diner, cleaned houses, cashiered and done a little of this and that to pay the bills all the while. She had bought the little house several years ago and scraped and painted and made it habitable and even inviting, in a funny way. And now she was raising four children on her own after finding her calling as a psychic.
She asked if she could read cards for me and we moved to the kitchen table. She was convincing and spot on in her assessment of me and she told me of things that seemed quite plausible, if not probable. And when she finished telling me what she thought I should know, she asked, “Do you think I am a bad mother?”
I had not asked her the questions that were on the paper on my clipboard. We had talked only a little about the children. But what I had seen in her eyes when she did talk about them was a fierceness like the mother bear we know of who will do whatever is necessary to protect her own. I knew she was afraid.
I went back to the psychic’s house three other times. I got through the questions on my clipboard as well as a lot of other questions that popped into my head. Each time I was there, she asked if she could read the cards for me. After that, we talked about her life and her children. I learned that one was a cheerleader, another loved horses, one loved reading and the other one really wanted an X Box for Christmas. Even though they did not celebrate Christmas. I heard and could see how she was doing her best to make sure that those kids would be ready to launch into the world and to do so knowing that they were loved. And I felt she was doing a good job of it.
The last time I was there I remembered to ask her about the list of house rules. I wanted to know how they came up with those rules. She told me they have a family meeting once a week and at one of those meetings her 13-year-old daughter was complaining about sharing the one bathroom in the house. The bathroom was a constant annoyance for everybody.
“The fact is, there is nothing we can do about having one bathroom. But we can do something about how we live with each other,” she said.
Each of the five who lived in the household contributed one rule and then they came up with the last rule together.
When it came time for me to report what I had found out about the family, I left off the details of the I Ching coins, the pendulum, the tarot cards and the smudge sticks. I wrote that those children were safe and happy and even thriving. I wrote that the family had very good communication and problem solving skills and that the mother was resourceful, strong and loving. I wrote about their house rules.
I did not write that she told me that I had a pink aura or that I have read that a pink aura is indicative of a most sympathetic soul. I said instead that when I arrived at the family home, I expected the worst, that I was afraid that this mother under scrutiny would not pass muster and that I felt sorry for her kids. I wrote that I had been ready to do what we adults should do when children are at risk but that I was pleasantly surprised to find more to admire than to sympathize with in that family. I finished by saying that the neighbors who were concerned because they saw an “odd” mother should not worry. She was different from they, but she was a good mother to those children. I knew it.
Those kids graduated high school and went on to bigger places and different things. They were successfully launched. And mom is still a psychic back in their home town. I occasionally look back at that list of very wise house rules. Simple, but good, they were. Like she.