Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm missing you

When I was three or four years old, I had imaginary friends.

I suppose many youngsters do. It must be fairly common or there would not be a song called Puff the Magic Dragon, which for those who don't know is about Jackie Paper, a little boy who had an imaginary dragon friend until he reaches a certain age.

In any event, I had not one but a series of imaginary playmates.

Davy, for instance, was a troublemaker. If something bad happened and I was assessed the blame, I promptly told my mother that I didn't do it - Davy did. Broken vase? Davy did it. Outside when I was supposed to be in the house? Davy made me go out to play.

Davy was a bad boy.

Jamie was my friend and companion. He played with me on the swings and in the sandbox. He was VERY good.

(My mother later told me, when I married a man named James, that she wondered long ago if I was having visions of my future, but that's another blog entry.)

I had one female playmate, but I seldom mentioned her to anyone. Her name was Sister. I had to hide her because my mother was pregnant about this time with my brother. When I said I wanted a sister, I was reprimanded.

My parents wanted a boy.

So I took Sister into hiding. Sister heard my deepest, darkest secrets. If I was lonely in the night, Sister comforted me. If I was sad, Sister patted me on the shoulder. If I needed to talk, Sister listened.

Sister stood by me when my little brother came home and helped me watch over him. Or so I imagine today, anyway. I really can't recall since I was only three.

There were times when I longed so hard for a real sister, for the confidant that I felt came only with having a sister, that I cried in despair. It was as if I were missing a part of myself.

These days I infrequently feel that same longing, a desperate yearning for . . . something. An indescribable kind of despair and grief that suddenly washes over me in a quiet moment. If someone were to ask me about it, I could only say, "I am missing my sister." But since I've never had a sister, I know that isn't right, though the description rings true.

Sometimes the longing for someone to talk to, someone who would understand everything, is so great that it makes my heart weep, even if my eyes stay dry. It's so intense at times that I have occasionally wondered if there was an unborn twin in my mother's womb with me.

It's a hole that I fill with my husband, my in-laws, my friends - sometimes just words on a blog. Sometimes it seems impossible to fill, but then it's a new day and the longing goes away.

Sometimes I think I must be a little crazy, missing someone who never was and something I never had.

Does it make any sense to you?


  1. I had imaginary pets and horses. Hehe.....actually, now that i think about it, i had a lot of imaginary horses.

    I always said i used to have a twin sister named Stacey, too.

    How funny how we remember these things.

  2. Absolutely! I think it's normal to feel that way. My brother had me and my sister but wanted a brother so badly he asked all the time.

    Could your mom have lost a child early, before you came along? My mother in law lost a baby after my hubby was born and he says he always felt he was never meant to be an only child, even before he knew about the loss.

    I think to some extent, we all have losses we feel that strongly. I miss living in Virginia like that almost everyday.

  3. My daughter was an only child and had an invisible friend when she was 4 years old.. his name was Nicholas, like the little boy in the TV show Eight Is Enough. When she did something wrong she would blame it on the Barbie Dolls or Nicholas....

    I've never NOT had a sister or a brother, so for me it's a difficult concept to miss having one. Love my sissy but she's on the west coast and I on the east... e-mail keeps us in close touch daily.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  4. Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea... I used to love that song! I had invisible friends too - although my friends had very strange names, Dicker and Deero. I don't know where they came from but like your Davy, they took a lot of blame.

  5. My parents lost my brother, the first born, hours after he was born. I grew up feeling so desperate for a big brother to look up to, to depend on, to look to for protection. There has always been an ache and emptiness. I think I can imagine that I know what you are feeling. CS Lewis would probably have some thoughts on the subject we could all discuss over a pint of ale in the pub, thoughts that we were created for eternity and are longing for that "far country." Freud would probably have a few comments of his own to make! All said, I still miss my brother I never had and try to fill that hole in many different ways...

  6. I never wanted a sister. I had a hard enough time trying to get love from my mother with just having a younger brother, and all the sisters I knew constantly fought with each other. Never had imaginary friends either. My best friends were my books. My confidant was my journals. Whenever I felt empty I wrote. Still do. I imagine that's why you're a writer too. Time for you to start your book girl...

  7. I think most of us have that same emptiness, that yearning for something we can't quite define. I think part of it is a profound desire to make deeper emotional connections with people. So much of our contact with people, even friends, is more shallow than we care to admit. We are afraid to reveal our truest selves because we are afraid of rejection. Robert Frost, in "Revelation", wrote:
    "We make ourselves a place apart
    Behind light words that tease and flout
    But, oh, the agitated heart
    "Til someone finds us REALLY out."

    Anyway, I may be just speaking for myself here. I think I yearn for someone who sees me rightly, with their heart, and someone who I can be my deepest, truest self with and who loves me unconditionally. Of course, my husband and children and friends certainly go a long way towards filling that void, but, still, it's there.

  8. My son had a friend named Tommy. They flew planes together and sometimes I wondered if he was tapping into a past life. If you believe in reincarnation it could explain your longing for your sister because perhaps you had one you were close to.

    I felt that emptiness at certain times in my life. I think it could have been a longing for the source we came from. I don't have it much anymore but I do get a wash of grief every now and then over the knowledge of the death of those I already miss and the knowledge of death as an inevitable in our lives.

  9. My kids have imaginary friends but I don't remember having any when I was little.

    Your post made me think of this verse:

    "For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." ~Psalm 107:9

  10. You had them for a reason and could probably ask them to come back if you needed if they had ever left.


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