When we moved to Phoenix, my daughter decided to adopt some imaginary friends. These friends would follow us everywhere. There were two of them and my daughter was their spokesperson. If she got a bath, they got one too. If I fed her cheese pizza, I would have to feed them too. Everything I did for her, I did for them too. After the third month of my two other “children”, I started to get a little worried.
I asked my husband, “Is this normal behavior? These imaginary friends are everywhere. I want her to make some real friends.” He assured me that she was trying to cope with all of the changes the move entailed and her imaginary friends gave her comfort. He convinced me it was a phase and once she started school, she would talk about her classmates at school.
He was right. From the moment she started her new school, she dropped one of her imaginary friends. I asked her where she went and she told me, that she went home to her mommy. Slowly, the other friend didn’t need a bath or cheese pizza anymore. Her days were filled with playing tea time with her real friends, learning her alphabet, and collecting sparkles on the playground. When she came home, she talked about her first ever best friend, Rachel and how they both like the same princess. When we got ready for school in the morning, it wasn’t a struggle, she readily got up, got dressed, and raced to the door.
On her last day of school, I thought about how far we had come. The imaginary friends are buried. There are real friends to captivate her thoughts. I don’t have the heart to tell her that some of friends are going to other schools and her best friend Rachel is too. She will have new teachers and other classmates.
She will have to transition again. This is life. And sometimes we need to call on the imaginary to push us forward.