My youngest child, Bekah, has had imaginary friends since she could talk. Perhaps earlier, but I wouldn’t know about those. Some of them have come and gone, and some, most notably Dorothy Ann, have stuck around. Bekah is seven now, and Dorothy Ann still shows up from time to time. In fact, recently I was yelling, I mean correcting calmly and cheerfully, in the way all good Christian mothers do, up the stairs, griping out Rachel and Joshua about something. I was really reading them the riot act, and I finished with, "Bekah, come down here!" After a few seconds I heard her on the stairs, and she was saying, "C'mon Dorothy Ann, maybe she has ice cream for us."
Some of our favorite stories involve Bekah and her imaginary friends. She’s always been a fairly dramatic kid, and that tendency led to a legendary encounter with me when she was about four years old. She had been spending a fair amount of time with an imaginary friend named Honornah (i don’t know!!). She came to the table for dinner and announced, in a very sad, heavy voice, “Honornah died.” Not wanting to encourage such macabre play, I said sternly, “Rebekah, Honornah did not die. If you don’t want to play with her anymore that’s fine. Just say, ‘Honornah had to go home.’” She sighed heavily and said, “Honornah had to go home. (dramatic pause) And she’s never... coming... back.”