Thursday, September 25, 2008

For Max's Mike - Wherever he is...

As a young teacher I used to peer out at the little people before me and even prior to having any babies of my own, I tried to keep in mind that those little beings were somebody else’s precious babies and that I needed to treat them as such. After I had my own children, I felt this even more intuitively.

Many five year olds entering Kindergarten bring their imaginary friend to school with them. As a teacher, I would set extra places for these friends, offer them snacks and give them a push on the swing with as much verve as I would their real counterparts.

My son Max had one such friend. Mike. However, after spending three or four years with us, he was suddenly gone. I missed Mike immediately. Even though on hurried days it was difficult to clear an extra car seat for him and buckle him in too, even though I almost missed catching him fall off of the playground glider, and even though I tossed his uneaten food in the dog’s lunch after every meal, I was so sad when he left us.

Why is it that some children have these friends while others do not? I am not certain. What I do know is that I am grateful for Max’s Mike. I invite you to offer me your thoughts on imaginary friends.



Dave Truss said...

I never had an imaginary friend, but I had a vivid imagination as a young boy and my swing set was a spaceship that took me to far off worlds.

I used to drive my mother and grandmother crazy, pacing circles around the kitchen table, all the while unaware of what I was doing, encased in an imaginary bubble of a world that I could see in my mind's eye. (My grandmother would stop me and ask what drugs I was on?)

I don't know why some people have imaginary friends, but I do know that your son was lucky to have a mother that both permitted and fostered his imagination!

Ellyn Schaffner said...

Very cool story David - thank you for sharing it.

As a 15-year old, Max is indeed an amazingly creative fella and it all seemed to begin with Mike...