I knew I was raising the coolest people in the world by their imaginary friends. My kids have enormous imaginations and a great sense of life. I can show this in the friends they chose to make up.
My first daughter was my first interaction with imaginary friends. My oldest was about two and she would talk in her room. I told you that she could see angels and I believe that she really could. However, she played with her “friends” all of the time.
I would ask “Who are you talking to?”
“My friends!” she would respond.
“Can I meet your friends?’
“Sure.” she says. She is very small and she is wearing a bucket on her head. The stuffed animals are arranged in a circle and each of them have a bucket on their heads as well. “That over there is Robin, she is a rabbit.” she points to an empty spot in the circle and there is no rabbit in sight. “That there is Simba, he is a lion.” again empty space. “And this one sitting right next to me is Murray and he’s a dog.” empty space.
Ok cool. So I get it and think she has made up imaginary friends and they are all animals. (I now want to point out that this particular child is now in veterinarian school.)
I look at all of the empty spaces and say “Nice to meet you all.”
I was so into it. My kid is making up her own friends and according to all of the psychology that I had learned up to this point says how important it is for kids to do this. I am so pleased with my kid because she is in over-achiever and most kids have one imaginary friend, my kid has three. So every one of her imaginary friends is sort of run of the mill little kid stuff. Murray the dog, however, was in debt due to his gambling problem and also drinks too much and is always hung over. (I don’t want to psychology this part, because I only took a few classes and I know that this is some deep-rooted parental blaming coming at me.) I was fascinated by this dog and was like “We all make this friend at some point in our life. I thought for her it would be college at least and also SHE WOULDN’T BE MAKING HIM UP!!”
One day for Christmas we were all unwrapping gifts at my parent’s house. My oldest was super excited and my son was an infant. My oldest daughter gets this rather large box and from inside the box she pulls out a stuffed animal and she exclaims (and I shit you not,) “Oh My God! It’s Murray, he’s come to life!” ok stuffed isn’t to life, I get that, but my shock wasn’t so much the fact that my two-year old doesn’t know her stuffed animals aren’t living, its more over what she had imagined this dog to look like. This stuffed dog was smooth material, not furry. He was black and white. He had one eye that was bigger than the other and to top it all off he is wearing pants. And not just any fucking pants, he is wearing brightly colored, wildly patterned, Jamaican harem pants. (it was the 90s)
This? This is what you imagined your dog friend (that could look like anything in the entire world) looked like? She is hugging him and telling everyone how happy Murray was to come to life. I am in a state of shock because this is just too fucking weird. We get home that night and I tuck my cherubs into bed. I go to bed too, because when your infant sleeps you should too. I wake up in the middle of the night to feed my baby. I walk past the bathroom and my toddler (who sleep walks with her eyes open) and she has Murray on the toilet.
“Honey are you okay?”
“Murray drank too much again because he lost his house gambling at the casino.
That’s why he has to come live with us!” She looks worried and I’m not sure if she is awake or if she is dreaming and also why does my kid know about gambling debts and casinos and drinking too much?
“It’s ok. Why don’t you go to bed and I will take care of Murray.” I take the stuffed dog under my arm and I walk with her to tuck her into bed.
“Mom?” She starts
“Yeah baby girl!”
“Murray says he’s sorry. He’ll be better now.” she says.
I say “It’s ok, there is a twelve step program for Murray.” and I kiss her on the top of her head.
Murray went to stuffed animal AA and got his stuffed life back together. It was a great thing.
My son had an imaginary friend named Pedro. Where Pedro came from I do not know. Pedro didn’t come with a back story. Pedro played soccer and he was cool. That’s all I heard of Pedro until my son went to kindergarten and he came home to tell me about his brand new friend he made. My son’s brand new classmate was his best friend and his name was Jose. My son is explaining his new friend to me “He speaks Spanish and he is really cool. Oh and he know Pedro too!”
My initial reaction was ‘this is some cultural misunderstanding because my son’s Pedro is imaginary and Jose probably knows an actual person named Pedro.’
That is until Jose shows up at my house and his mom had to open the car door for Pedro. Pedro, Jose’s imaginary friend. My son greets his two best friends and away they go. The other mom looks exhausted because apparently Pedro has been living with them and he is not a great house guest. He doesn’t like what she cooks and he is never wanting to go to bed. Pedro is an imaginary asshole. She smiles at me and hands me an imaginary bag and says “He comes to live with you!”
Clever woman. She unleashed Pedro onto me. My son said that Pedro liked my cooking better because I don’t make spicy food.
Weird! Right? But how awesome is all of this. Wait the best is yet to come!
My youngest child was four years younger than my son and six years younger than my daughter. She spent a lot of time hanging with mom. I loved it and I believe that she did too. She got a little china tea set for her birthday one year and along with it came her imaginary friend Mrs Weatherby. I knew when Mrs Weatherby showed up because my youngest would be all in a tizzy. She would come down stairs wearing my floppy hat and her Barbie heels and shouting “Mrs Weatherby is coming. Quick get my tea set!”
Holy fucking Shit, kid….imagine a better person. Why is this bitch coming today and ruining my peace and quiet.
“Should I make you some tea?” I suggested because I’m cool like that.
Daughter turns to me in pure panic and says “Mrs Weatherby doesn’t like tea, she likes fruit punch!”
I get the tea set out and put in fruit punch for the snobby bitch that has interrupted my day and set it out. My daughter comes back down stairs wearing her fake pearls and clip on earrings and her dress-up clothes. She is talking rather rapidly trying to impress this Mrs Weatherby and I have to say I am a little anxious about meeting her. This woman is no joke, apparently. I don’t know if I curtsy or what. Is she royalty? Is she imaginary social services? Who the fuck is this imaginary lady and why is she so damned judgy?
My youngest is standing there with her best performance and she says with a flourish “Mom may I present Mrs. Weatherby!” and she spreads her arms wide to gesture that I am now meeting the One and Only Mrs Weatherby. I stand there in complete awe of this invisible person because she got my daughter to clean her room. I am both amazed and annoyed. I have never had this power in all of my life. I was more like “Keep your door closed if you don’t want to keep it clean.” This snobby bitch shows up one day and the place is spotless. For a Pretend person!!
I recently asked my daughter what Mrs Weatherby’s first name was. My adult daughter’s response “I don’t know, mom! WE weren’t on a first name basis!” It still makes me laugh. Although Mrs Weatherby came with a lot of pressure when she visited, the need for my daughter to make up an icon to visit her home is just so utterly fascinating.
My children each had unique imaginary friends and I encouraged it the best that I could. It is such an important part of them trying figure out how they fit into society. My oldest knew that some people had struggles to overcome. My son knew that multicultural friends were such a great way to learn about humans as a whole. My youngest learned that some people expect perfection and that helps us to rise and be better for it. Who better to teach this to them than their imaginary friends? The consequences are fabricated and their lives mostly are untouched. My kids are awesome people and I knew it by the friends that they created in the recesses of their minds.
Moral of my story: Let them create and learn from their imaginary friends. It is an important process that they are going through. It might be a pain in the ass and you may have to take a few extra minutes to buckle them into the car, but your kids are learning, so it is important. Also, you don’t have to waste food on them….imaginary person gets imaginary food…except that judgmental bitch Mrs Weatherby I wanted to impress her. My youngest and I baked our finest confections for Mrs Weatherby to come. (My youngest is currently at the top culinary school in the world for baking and pastry arts) Lastly enjoy your time with your kids and really allow them to be themselves it is so important.
Until next time! 🙂