When I was a little kid, I had two imaginary friends, Gitz and Haddie. They played with me in our third floor walk-up. They lived in a “haunted mansion” a few blocks away. We sang songs and ate at my small, Formica table together. They never got me into trouble. They never scared me or comforted me. They were just companions for a young girl living with three adults. And, then, they were gone…though, obviously, not forgotten.
My younger sister had her own imaginary friend, Jeannie. Jeannie, however, was a scamp and was very often blamed for things going badly. I wasn’t a fan of Jeannie. I didn’t understand wanting to pal around with a trouble-maker.
Our son didn’t have any imaginary friends (that we know of). Our daughter didn’t either. Instead, she became either Miss Chris or Susan, both of whom seemed to be very sophisticated, interior designers. Try to picture the rearranging of our rooms based on the whimsy and taste of a four-year-old!
Now, our oldest grandchildren have adopted the names and dress of various crime fighting, cartoon figures. They wear capes and home-made costumes and insist on being called by their super-hero names. We’ve all been given our own names from these cartoons. Most everyone is a super-hero. But, I’m a villain. I’m banking on the fact that my three-year-old granddaughter hasn’t deliberately made her younger brother and me the bad guys. Even if she has, I go with it.
Imagination is the playmate of childhood. Most of us cast it aside as our world expands with all its responsibilities and distractions. My grandchildren have given me a gift by bringing me back to that world of make-believe. I won’t lose it (and Gitz and Haddie) again.