If you have not heard the details of Graeson's imaginary friends, please click here to read the first blog posting.
Earlier this week, Graeson woke up full of energy and talking a mile a minute. (Although, this is actually nothing unusual!) He told me that at 2:00 Mickey told him goodbye and that he was going to go now. Graeson went on that Mickey is going far away and he won’t be back for a long time, not until Valentine’s Day (which is still a long way away in Graeson’s mind). Mickey has to travel through ten towns and at the eleventh town he will stop. In a wistful voice he says, "I’m sure going to miss Mickey." Then....this is the best part from a Mother's perspective...he says that Mickey is going to tell all the people about Jesus. And Mickey knows about Jesus, and so does Chuck (his substitute friend) and Lightening (his car friend). So I asked if Mickey was the one who told Graeson about Jesus, but then I remembered it was quite the opposite. The day after Graeson asked Jesus into his heart this summer, he gathered all of his pretend friends in his room, and had a concert (with his guitar of course) where he told all his friends about Jesus. And after that, they had Jesus in their hearts too. I told him, that conversational morning, that maybe Mickey was going to another little boy’s house who didn’t have a pretend friend yet, and Mickey would help him when he’s scared and play with him and be his new friend.
So I have to admit, I’m a little sad to see Mickey go. Mainly because this means my little boy is growing up and doesn’t need a make-believe friend anymore. Well, he does still have the other 10 or so friends… but Mickey was the first. And, I suspect, the others will be leaving soon too. (And I have a lump in my throat just writing this!)
Bryan on the other hand, just rolls his eyes….
So I decided to take a poll of some friends to see just how common imaginary friends are. Just the names alone are entertaining: Hawnie-Hawn-Hawk, Ghosty, Mickey (a generation prior to Graeson's Mickey), Homma, Muck, Pepper, Mick (which was short for Mickey), Penelope, as well as some who didn't have names. They are not all people either...some have been 1 inch tall birds, others dinosaurs, others dogs. There was even a woolly mammoth in the list.
Kaela's imaginary friend was a boy named Five. Five mostly never left our house, but one time he was across the restaurant from where we were eating, just drinking his Pepsi. Five started to fade when Kaela eventually worked up to five-days-a-week preschool, and her (real) best friend was in her class. Mostly, Five was just like her and did everything she did including eating, sleeping, playing, and taking a bath. But eventually Five started misbehaving and so Kaela threw him in the garbage. But recently Kaela admitted that Five does still come around sometimes, when she's scared or anxious or nervous....and he just stays there right next to her.
I had my own imaginary friend as well. Her name was Jamie and she was loosely based on a real friend Jamie who I knew at the time. Her physical appearance was vague....no real face or body, kind of like a dream presence....but definitely had blonde hair. And she was mostly an extension of me, a playmate. But I was always in charge, of course! I have a very distinct memory of playing with my cousin Heather and her imaginary friend Mick one day. The four of us were in my Grandma's front yard playing "Mother May I". Heather and I had a brief argument because she said Mick won and I said Jamie won. I couldn't actually see Mick (so how could he possibly win!) but I never questioned whether he was real.
So if a little one in your life begins a relationship with a new friend named Mickey, tell him hello for us. Tell him that we enjoyed the time he was part of our family, and that he has helped shape Graeson into the person he is today, and will become tomorrow. But most importantly, if Mickey tells you about Jesus, pay attention! He knows what he's talking about.