I was a little girl with an active imagination. A bit of my head in the clouds. It's still there, many days. I don't need much to be entertained... my own thoughts take me all kinds of places.

When I was about 4, one of my favorite rituals was to play 'The Mommy and The Little Girl' with my mom. We'd switch roles, I'd be the mom, I would nurture and discipline her. It's a common game, and one I really latched on to. It gave me a sense of control (duh), but also probably helped my mom learn how to nurture me, a kid who was sweet and reserved and could, even then, be hard to reach.

Around the same age, I enjoyed the company of my imaginary friends. Ones I would play with, do things with. My parents were pretty clever - I couldn't stand the sting of baby shampoo in my eyes, so they had those friends live on the ceiling! I said "hi" to them during bath time by looking up, and avoided the nasty soap-eye.

One of the friend's names was a take-off on my sister's friend's names. One that tickled me. I gave my IF the same first name, with a playful send-up of her last name. That IF, in true 70's fashion, was always dressed in a red turtleneck and yellow corduroy overalls.

My dad helped me create my other IF. He was always really conscious, as I developed, of my own acceptance of my physical impairment. He surrounded me with role models with similar impairments when I was older (although I don't know that they had the impact he wanted), but to me, it really started with Reena, the IF we created together. Reena's physical impairment mirrored my own, only on a different limb. As an adult, I truly appreciate that he was trying to people my world with individuals who reflected me. (To be completely honest, that just made me tear up!) Reena wore short denim shorts and a long, bright mossy green t-shirt, and yes, she lived on the ceiling.


What games occupied your time as a young child? Did you have imaginary friends? What were they like?