Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Unparalleled Allure of an Imaginary Brother

Chicken Noodle: Mom, we’re playing princess castle and Little won’t be the prince and I want her to be the prince.

Me: I’m sorry, baby. But she gets to be what she wants.

Noodle: If our brother were alive, he’d be the prince.

Me: Yeah, maybe.

Noodle: And there would be more of us to play when we play Crazy 8’s.

Me: Yes.

Noodle: It’s not fair.

Me: (Thinking a: big brother might actually be more inclined to make her be the slave in the dungeon in his own masochistic play than be her prince, and b: if he was alive, she would never have been born, instead I simply say…)
(Because it isn’t, really)


In related news, at the Christmas dinner table…

Chicken Little to Grandpa (sadly): Our brother died.

Grandpa: I heard.

Little: He was born too late.

Grandpa (lovingly): I know, I heard.

…and here all along I’d been thinking that I was the one born too late. Am I the only child of the 70s who wished she was born in time to enjoy the freewheeling 60s?

I always wanted a big brother, too.


This all makes me think about how pining away for the impossible brings with it a powerful element of fantasy. You can project whatever you want onto that blank slate. Kind of like writing a novel. Hmmm….

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