Oh, boyhood can be rough.
Recently, Luke and I had the following conversation:
"I can tell you're really upset, if you talk to me maybe I can help."
"Mom, you can't help me unless you can create a real Bakugan dimension."
It wasn't only the Bakugan dimension that he worried about; it was the Pikachu that sits on Ash's shoulder, the owls that fly back and forth to Hogwarts, the wardrobe, now solid, that should lead to Narnia. My heart broke for him; Luke cried and cried as he told me of the death of all of his fantasies.
In these last few months, or weeks, Luke has gotten to that point in his development where a chair is always a chair is always a chair - no matter how much he tries, he can't make that chair be anything else. I remember when he used to have a building basement that he would access through his floor. He would go down in the building basement and he would build, in his imagination, friends and monsters and anything you can think of. When he got a little older, Luke had a watch that became a time traveling watch; it would take him back to the time of the dinosaurs, helping him identify new dinosaurs and be a paleontologist.
But the building basement is now closed, the watch is just a watch.
It must be really hard to know that you're the only one in your head when you go to sleep at night. Especially when you used to be able to go to bed with all your favorite friends surrounding you in your mind.
I remember when it happened to me; we used to go camping, and I would sit on the window well adjacent to the backseat, as my dad traveled at 5 miles an hour in the campground. But I wasn't sitting on a window well; I was sitting on Shadowfax the horse. You know the horse from The Lord Of The Rings? Gandalf's horse. Well, Shadowfax was my horse up until I turned about 12, and then suddenly the window well was just a window well.
Ben and I are thinking about the next step for Luke, and concluding that a rite of passage is in order, some sort of quest that will help him enjoy life and be creative, even now that he understands it's just him knocking around on his own up there in his head. And, just as we were having these concerns and wondering what to do about them, a friend loaned me the most incredible book: Raising A Son, by Don Elium and Jeanne Elium. It's a treasure trove of information just exactly when we needed it.
But I'm wondering if you, dear reader, have any advice for us as well. Do you remember staring into the existential void? Do you have loved ones who have recently gone through this? What did you do to get through it, or help your loved ones through it?
I think maybe I never really gave up Shadowfax. He waited in the back of my head until I got old enough to admit that he was still there.
Come to think of it, that was probably just about when I had children - maybe even just when Luke's building basement opened up.