"Then, look at me because this is important!" she demanded, griping my hand and waiting until I turned to face her. "I want to be a mermaid, a real mermaid! Is it possible? You told me anything is possible."
My first instinct was to explain all the reasons why that would not happen, but the need for assurance sparked from her eyes, and I didn't have the heart. Instead, we sat in quiet for several minutes. Her watching me intently. Me peering into her soul. There was so much to consider. After all, this is the dear one who believes, as I do, that the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot are real. This is the one who can reiterate every sighting of Big Foot or Nessie for the passed 30 years. And, this is the one who learned how to make foot print casts just in case we happen across a size 20 barefoot print on a journey through the woods. Is it possible to become a mermaid? No. Is it possible to want to be a mermaid? Yes. And, in here laid my dilemma. I decided to go through the physical facts.
We spent the afternoon analyzing the possibility of transforming from a human into a half-human fish. We looked at anatomy charts, the advancements in medical technology to create limbs for those who have lost them--both human and animal, and several accounts from sailors in the 19th century who claimed to have a mermaid encounter. In all, it was an enjoyable journey into the world of research. But, finally, in the end, I had to say it was not physically or medically possible. For a few minutes she seemed reserved and extra quiet, but then she started giggling.
"What's up?" I asked. "Were you serious or were you not?"
She leaned over and patted my hand. "Nana, sometimes you take things too literally. I meant that I wanted you to write a story where I was the mermaid--a real mermaid, and I wanted to help you write it. But, today was so much fun! I know more about mermaids now than I ever did before."
Moral of the story--when your granddaughter makes an unusual statement, ASK MORE QUESTIONS! Isn't that what we writers are suppose to do?