Daughter’s Imaginary Friends
It’s taken me a long time to try to figure out how to start my experiences with my youngest daughter who I will call Jacey (not her real name). I have mentioned Jacey in one of my other stories about the house I grew up in when I was a teen, and I think she used to be able to see things. When these things happened with Jacey, we lived in Louisiana at the time (this was about 9 years ago this all happened). My husband was military. We had moved off the base and into a small town, and an adorable little house. I had some personal experiences happen in this house that I will tell another time.
Jacey was three when things got strange. Up to that time I had not noticed anything. Jacey’s older sister was in school and for the most part it was just me and her home during the day, hanging out and doing our thing. I was finishing up my teaching degree at the time and had a lot of homework. I let Jacey watch TV when I needed to do homework. One day Jacey stopped watching TV after Dora the Explorer and headed off to her room. This wasn’t unusual because a lot of times her attention was diverted at the end of a program. What I remember is she came back to me a little later and told me she had a friend. Could her friend play? Being distracted, I remember only saying, “Yes.” Then things started to get weird because a pattern started to emerge, and that’s when I started paying attention.
Every day at 9:30 a.m. (when Dora the Explorer ended) she had a friend. Jacey would look down the hall and say things like, “oh my friend is here!” She’d run down the hall. Sometimes Dora wasn’t even all the way over and Jacey would act like she’d heard something, and say her friend was here and run down the hall. One day she came to me and said, “My friend’s brother would like to come play, too. Is that ok.” I said, “Sure.” I started to ask questions, and I started watching what was going on around me. I have written down this information before because it was quite fascinating.
The friends came every day. Once I said the brother could come they were both at our house every day. When I was feeding Jacey lunch one day I asked if her friends wanted or needed lunch too? She told me no. I asked, “Why? Aren’t they hungry?” She told me they didn’t eat. I told her everyone ate, and she told me they didn’t need to eat. I asked to take pictures of her friends. I even went to her room to ask about pictures, and I took a camera. She told me that they were scared of me, and didn’t want their picture taken. I told her I wasn’t scary and I’d really like a picture. She paused as if listening and said they were still too scared. I asked several times for permission to take pictures, but never got permission.
One time in the car while waiting to get her older sister out of school I questioned more: “Where do your friends live?” Answer: “In the forest.” Question: “Where in the forest?” Answer: “In the burned out rainbow house.” Almost all of Louisiana is forest, and forest isn’t really a word three year olds use. Question: “What are their names?” Answer: “I don’t know.” I was once asked if the friends could stay the night. I agreed, and that night that more than once I kept hearing stuff behind me while I was the only one up. I did snap pictures, but sadly when I saw nothing I deleted them. I wish I had kept them to analyze them further.
Remember the burned out rainbow house in the forest? Well, my hubby and I liked to explore by driving down roads we’d never been down. We lived on a dead end road ourselves. Once I wanted to show my husband where another teacher friend lived, and her road was parallel to the one we lived on. I showed him where her house was, and we kept driving down that road, and we found a burned out house. I can’t say there was anything rainbow-like about it, but it really wasn’t that far from our own home. I remember the feeling when we saw the house too. I think it triggered something in both of us when we saw it. We kind of slowed up and looked at each other, but said nothing.
I caught Jacey playing with her friends one day, and it was a little spooky. Since I couldn’t see them or hear them, I had many times walked by Jacey’s room at the end of the hall only to have her look and me and “scold” me because I scared her friends away. One day I got on my hands and knees. I crawled down the hall and peeked around the door. I saw Jacey on the floor with My Little Ponies. Her back was to me. She was having a conversation with someone. I had heard her having these types of conversations before. She’d say things, and pause like she was listening to someone else, she’d even appear to be looking at someone who was talking. This time was no different. I remember her moving her pony on the floor, and I want to add there was another set of ponies on the floor across from her as if another child was there playing. Jacey had just said something, looked at whoever was across from her, turned around toward me and said, “Mom! I know you are there. My friend told me. You scared her!” I turned around and crawled away to think about what had just happened.
These friends stayed around until Jacey eventually went to kindergarten, and I started teaching that same year. I don’t know what to make of the whole event, but more things happened in that little house I loved and I will write more about it another time. Jacey is now a teen. She has some memory of her “friends” but she doesn’t like to talk about them.