Jeannie Bruenning Author

Let’s Pretend

I love watching kids play. It’s like watching mini adults without all their protective shields.

This weekend our three youngest grandchildren were at our house.  They may only be one year a part in age but in personalities – they aren’t on the same sphere. 

Liam, our lego engineer had designed a lego RC (remote control so I’ve been informed) robot. Elin, who has big plans of becoming a SuperStar, enjoys her barbie dolls. And Emery, who prefers being surrounded with a zillion buddies, (stuffed animals) while watching Pokemon or playing the Wii – and scowls at the thought of playing with dolls – had found a way to join in.

They had created a movie set complete with movie stars, a full kitchen to use on their cooking show, and of course, a RC robot to help with the set design.

That evening these same three were sitting in a circle on the floor. Elin was swinging her barbie around making it’s long hair twirl around in the air. “Let’s pretend that our mother is dead,” she began…

You know when the TV has been ignored for a bit and those beautiful screen savor images begin to appear? A while back, I started seeing if I could make up a memory or short description of each image. Some become vacation spots or family estates in far off lands, others are romantic adventures or scenes from our own Hollywood lifestyle. One day, our future SuperStar grand-daughter was in the room when the images appeared and she willingly joined in the fun. It didn’t take long to realize that Elin’s imagination has a lot of death in it. Each images was where she had fallen and broken her neck or mangled her body. Others were where she had fallen and simply died. So, when pretending that their mom had died was the opening line to this new game, it wasn’t surprising. 

However, Liam, the lego king interjected. “No, let’s pretend that she has cancer and has been taken to a facility for treatment…”

Really? We’ve moved from death to cancer and treatment facilities? What happened to Christopher Robins and Winnie the Pooh? When did Curious George and Little Bear turn into As the World Turns?

Liam continued, “She has to stay there forever now and can’t come home to take care of us.” I watched as a dark heaviness blanketed these three grade school kids as they considered the possible of a dead mom, cancer facilities and treatments. 

Without a seconds hesitation, Emery, our Pokemon, Wii, and you can never have enough buddies in bed with you, confidently proclaimed, “Well then, I guess we’ll just have to figure out how to do this ourselves!” She’s a no-nonsense kind of a girl.

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