“Daddy – I met Clarabelle today. She is my best friend now!” told my then 4-year-old.
“Okay! That is great. Why is she your best friend?” I asked my son.
He then went on to say she was very nice, didn’t scream, cry, shared toys and was nice to him.
Next day, we had another Clarabelle story and then another. I started getting really curious and wanted to meet Clarabelle, get to meet with her parents, so we could setup a play date. One of the days when it was my turn to pick him up at the day care, I asked him where is Clarabelle? Can you introduce me to her?
“Hmmm…she just left with her dad daddy. Tomorrow!” He said. Disappointed at having missed the opportunity to meet her, I walked back to the car. As we were driving, I asked him do you know her Dad’s name? At that point, my son knew the names of parents of some of his friends. He said yeah Mr. Smith (I forget the name now).
Again, it was my turn to pick him up. I met with his teacher and said do you know Mr. Smith and is there a way to get their contact number? She said yep he is Sabrina’s dad. I said no Clarabelle’s dad. The teacher responded back saying there is no Clarabelle in the class.
Totally puzzled, I scratched my head and we got back in the car and I asked him if Clarabelle was Sabrina. I told him I spoke to the teacher and there is no Clarabelle in his class. He said ya but she is my best friend. I didn’t want to push it any further.
I did what most parents seem to do – turn to Google. After a few different search queries, I landed on children’s imagination. In this case, he had an imaginary friend with whom he connected. She epitomized everything that he wanted in a best friend and connected with his wit, maturity, and just other things important to a 4-year-old. We then just went along without trying to bust the myth or making it awkward for him by trying to look for Clarabelle.
Few days later, as me and my wife were clearing some of his early age books, we came across a set of Mickey Mouse books and saw Clarabelle. Huh! Mom and Dad just made the connection.
After 1.5 years of this incident occurring, there is no more Clarabelle today in our lives. The reason I remember the story today is me and my colleague at work were talking about her children’s imagination. I began to ruminate and reminisce the times and it then dawned on me that there is a child in almost every one of us. We all imagine a perfect person, situation, outcome, and such with purity. I have and I still do many a times. As our minds to begin to mature, we begin to accept the imperfections or even bad imperfections become the new bar for perfection.
As I wrap this up, what is your imaginary Clarabelle story? Share your thoughts via comments below.