I never really had an imaginary friend. That I know of. The truth is, I don’t think I ever felt the need to have an imaginary friend. When you grow up in a chaotic family with 3 siblings, who has time for made-up friends?
I was one of those lucky kids that made friends pretty easily. So, between real friends and siblings, I was pretty much covered. But, don’t you worry, my imagination was still in overdrive as a child. My sister, Lindsey was better than an imaginary friend. She and I grew up 19 months apart in age, and I think for my parents’ own sanity, we were pretty much treated as one child. With split personalities. My brother, who is five years older, and my other sister, Paige, who is 8 years younger were on the outskirts, but Lindsey and I were almost one entity. And between her way over-active imagination, and my willingness to go along with whatever she said, I was never on a shortage for things to do.
We moved around a lot growing up, but finally settled into what I now look at as my childhood home when I was in the 5th grade. Behind the house, we had a little creek bed and were pretty much allowed to wander freely (at least so it seemed), and play for hours on end. In that creek bed, our imaginations went wild, but always went along with the same theme. We were usually playing out one of the three scenarios….
A. We were runaways trying to survive in the wild alone.
B. We were kidnapped and trying to survive in the wild alone.
C. We were lost and trying to survive in the wild alone.
It was rough back in that creek bed. We were always amazing of course, overcoming extreme odds, and surviving despite being followed, or abandoned, or running away. We were strong, and we were able to do anything in that little made-up world right behind the fence of our own backyard. Crawdad fishing was usually what we did for food, and if we were feeling really brave, we would walk the length of that creek bed behind all the houses on the street to a little creepy place at the end that looked like someone had built an alter to make sacrifices on. At least that’s what our over-active imaginations wanted to believe. It was probably way less threatening than that, but we wanted to believe that we were in constant danger. And survivors.
And honestly, I’m not sure I would have done any of it without Lindsey. She was the one that always had a plan, and knew how to execute it. Even though I am the older sister, I was the one that was usually scared and begging to stop whatever game was leading me to believe that I would indeed NOT survive the wild (right behind the backyard fence). But, we always did. We always made it. That’s because my sister had things under control.
And, the funny thing is, if we were ever REALLY stuck in the wild, she would probably survive and I would not. We’ve talked about those “I survived” shows, and I know she would be a fighter until the end. 100%. And, me? I usually turn to my husband while watching those shows and say, “Yeah, I would die right there.” And, it’s usually only about 5 minutes into whatever horrific scenario is playing out on the screen. But, if Lindsey and I were in a scenario like that together? I love her enough to give her permission to eat me when I die. And, since she’s a survivor, I’m sure she wouldn’t hesitate.
See, who needs imaginary friends, when you have a friend like that?