My Daughter’s New Parents
My daughter has replaced me. But don’t feel too bad for me, because she’s replaced her Dad too. Yes, she has new parents. I’ve never met them or talked to them, but she talks about them all the time. Here’s an example of a conversation we had the other day…
Me – “Go wash your hands for dinner.”
M.- “My parents said I don’t have to wash my hands.”
Me – “We always wash our hands before we eat dinner.”
M.- “But my parents said I don’t have to.”
Me- “Well, they aren’t here right now, but I am. And I’m telling you to go wash your hands.”
And that’s not all. Apparently, her other parents have a dog and a cat, they take her to the pool, the zoo, McDonald’s, and the park on a daily basis, her brother and sister aren’t there, and she’s allowed to do whatever she wants. No wonder she likes them better than us! A few friends have commented on how humorous this is, and how confident we must feel to not be bothered that she has made up new parents. Truth be told, it can be a little frustrating. But it’s also inspiring!
I remember having a pretty good imagination when I was her age too. I would imagine that I was really a princess and that one day my real parents (the king and queen) would come and take me to their palace. (No offense, Mom and Dad!) When you’re a kid, you can imagine anything you want. Reality doesn’t mean much when you’re young. Time travel? Sure, why not! Fairy godmothers who can grant you any wish you want? Of course! Anything is possible! When things get tough, or someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do (like, say, eating your spinach), you simply step into your imagination and all is well with the world…even if for only a few minutes. But sometime between the age of 3 and adulthood, reality steps in and kicks imagination right out the door. We stop creating make believe places and people and we realize that we must deal with reality as it is. And let’s be honest, if we could imagine our way out of things….well, let’s just say that my imaginary maid, cook, and babysitter would have shown up a long time ago! But when my daughter talks about her “other parents” (who are clearly much cooler than us), I’m reminded of how nice imagination can be. And while we can’t imagine ourselves into a size 2 dress or a bank account filled with millions, maybe a little imagination once in a while would help us look at our lives (and our problems) differently.
My daughter is stuck with Mark and I, whether she is ready to accept it or not. But listening to her talk about her imaginary parents has given me more insight into her wants and needs. There are some things she doesn’t want to do, like wash her hands (or brush her teeth, or eat her dinner…) that I’m still going to make her do. But perhaps we do need to make more trips to the park. And while we can’t get rid of her brother and sister, we can spend a little bit more time with her alone. Because, let’s face it, I don’t want those other parents getting all the glory!