I was a little surprised when my son’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Bridges, sent a note home for me to make an appointment with her. My precocious six-year-old had obviously done something wrong. He loved going to school so much that it rather took me by surprise.
When I arrived for our meeting, I took a seat at one of the first grader’s desk. I was feeling a little intimidated sitting there all cramped into that seat feeling like I had been a bad Mother. Mrs Bridges began by telling me about my son, Eddie. My ears perked up thinking she was going to declare how super intelligent he was and how charismatic she had found him or maybe what a fantastic sense of humor he had. But this was not the case. She pointed out that Eddie relayed to the class that a blimp landed in his yard and she feared that he could not tell pretend from reality. (evidently this was not the first time that he had shared something that he had imagined.) I assured her that was not the case but that she was dealing with a child with a very active imagination (which I thought in my brain proudly that I had encouraged). Actually I was quite proud about it and tried hard not to show it. However, I told her I would talk to my son and get back to her.
When I got home, I sat down and had a chat with my little boy. He began to tell me what had happened. His grandparents had indeed taken him to see the Blimp that was in town on display over the weekend. He began by saying that one of the kids at Show And Tell (They should abandon that practice for sure. He undoubtedly had shared way more during his first months at school than you could possibly imagine) said that they had been to see the Blimp. “That’s what I was going to tell,” he said. Then another kid relayed how he had ridden on the Blimp (which you could do for a very healthy price and he did not get to do). So when it got to be his turn, he said with great enthusiasm, “That kid stole my story so I just told them that I went to see the Blimp and got to ride on it and the Blimp landed in my back yard.”
“You know that is not true, don’t you Eddie?”
“Yes ma’am,” he said with his eyes looking down at the floor. He looked so pitiful that I felt sorry for him.
“Did you know that your teacher was very upset about what you said as well as the other kids in your class?”
“Yes ma’am, she asked me a lot of times if it was true or was I making it up. I didn’t answer her, but I didn’t fib to her.”
“Are you sure that you know that was just a story you made up and it really didn’t happen?”
“Yes ma’am. Momma, can I go play now?”
“Yes you can. But, please don’t tell any more pretend stories in school unless you let them know that it is something that you imagined.”
Later that day he asked me, “Momma, what makes water come out of the facet?”
Now, I thought, maybe this was my time to do his reality check.
“Oh, there are little fairies and elves inside the facet that turn the waterfalls on and off.”
“Really?” he answered. “Can I see them?”
“Oh no,” I answered, “if you see them, they won’t turn the waterfalls on any more.”
Now I was laughing the whole time I told him about the fairies and elves and really thought he knew that I was just making that up. In fact, later that night, I told him that it was just a made up tale and there really weren’t fairies and elves in the facet.
However, the next day at Show and Tell, he told his class how we had fairies and elves that turned the waterfalls on in our facets. Mrs Bridges tried to correct him, but he stood firm because his Momma had told him that was where they lived.
Hence another note came home from the teacher. This time she wanted to see me.
Again, I entered the class room and sat at that tiny little desk feeling like a criminal. I couldn’t believe that I was actually sweating but I felt the wetness rolling down my back. She began telling me about my son, but ended by asking me if I knew the difference between real and make-believe. I declared that I did but I am not sure she bought it. She looked at me like I was a little cray-cray. I had always prided myself on encouraging my children to have good imaginations. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell her that if she wasn’t careful, the leprechauns would come out her facets and contaminate her water with green slime, but I kept that to myself. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my husband.
That night when I finally got a chance to tell him, he said “I guess the word is out, you are certifiable.” We both laughed until we couldn’t stand up.
A long time has passed since that incident, to be exact fifty-two years. However, just recently an army blimp got loose from it’s tether in Maryland and was floating haphazardly in the air. It floated all the way to Pennsylvania and finally landed in Muncy about three miles from our house, not quite in our back yard but close enough.
I got a text from my son. “Mom, I predicted this. It is Nostradamus like.”
His wife texted, “Are there leprechauns coming out of the facets?”
“No,” I answered, “just fairies and elves.”
Maybe Mrs Bridges was right, I am a little cray-cray, possibly certifiable.