The time Holden was the donkey in Shrek. I think. Maybe. Wait, was he?

ME: Hey buddy, how was the field trip?!

HOLDEN: Boring.

ME: Really? You didn’t like Shrek the Musical?

HOLDEN: It was long.

ME: Oh, I see.

HOLDEN: But I got to be the donkey.

ME: Whatta you mean you got to be the donkey? Like in the play?

HOLDEN: Yes. There was a man with me on stage and he told me what lines to say. And Grant was the king and Olivia got to be the queen.

ME: Wow, in that big theater?! With everyone watching? That’s amazing.

HOLDEN: I got picked because I was being such a good listener. They picked the best listener in each class.

ME: Holdennn, good job!! I’m so proud of you, buddy.

And I was. Like seriously proud. I mean Holden isn’t always the best listener and he’s a kid with a little stage fright so it was kind of a big deal. So I bragged about it to everyone. His grandparents, his aunt and uncle, my friends, I even brought it up to Grant’s mom when I saw her.

ME: I heard Grant got to be the king in Shrek.

GRANT’S MOM: He was? Ugggh, he never tells me anything.

ME: You should ask him. He got picked for being a good listener!

And for a week I was beaming about it. And then we were at a party and I casually mentioned it to my friend (because I was telling everyone) and her son Benji looked at me like I was insane.

BENJI: No he wasn’t.

ME: Yeah, he was the donkey.


ME: And Grant was the king and Olivia was the queen.

BENJI: Ha ha ha ha, that’s funny.

ME: Whatta you mean that’s funny. They were in it, right?


ME: Were any kids in the play?

BENJI: (looks at me like I have two heads) Nooooo. Just actors.

And suddenly I was like wait a sec, WAS he really the donkey?! I mean it’s a pretty big theater and I was kind of amazed he was in it in the first place, but he described the whole thing to me. In detail! And I told everyone. EVERYONE!! (including a bunch of people who are probably reading this right now and chuckling) So anyways, later that night when I was putting him to sleep…

ME: Hey buddy, remember how you told me you were in Shrek?


ME: Were you?


ME: Really?

HOLDEN: Well, we were sitting REALLY close to the stage.


ME: But were you ON the stage?

HOLDEN: Mom, we were so close, we could put our feet on the stage.

ME: But were Grant and Olivia IN the play?

HOLDEN: Well, they were sitting sooo close, I thought they were in it.

And that’s when I knew the truth. The whole thing was a FANTASY. I’ve been walking around all week super proud of my kid for being such a good listener, when all this time he’s not a good listener. He’s a good LIAR.

But then I thought back to our conversations. I remembered him telling me the story and my mom the story, and all the details and the pride, and I realized something. He’s not really a liar. In his mind all this stuff happened. I think while he sat there watching that lonnng play, he started to imagine himself as the donkey and his friends as the characters. And by the time the show was over, I think he was fully convinced it all happened.

ME: Hey Holden, the next time you tell me a story like that, you have to mention that it’s a fantasy, okay?


ME: Because after you told me and you sounded so excited about it, I signed you up for theater class.

HOLDEN: Mom, noooooooo!

ME: Just kidding, buddy.

Good thing I didn’t. And good thing I didn’t tell everyone MY fantasy. Holden becoming a famous actor and taking me to the Oscars as his date and thanking me when he wins. I mean hey, a mom can dream, right? As long as she doesn’t go around telling everyone.

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There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Jeni at 11:49 am

    My kid convinced her pre-K class, teacher included, that we were moving from Orlando to Egypt. The teacher was concerned enough to ask about it.

  2. Carol Savournin at 12:39 pm

    When I was a kid, I lived in the country (no close neighbors) and I was an only child. I had 2 imaginary friends … Eena and Frances. They were little old ladies in black dresses with white collars. I used to sit on the steps with them and pretend we were riding the trolley to go to town. My mom would hear me talking to them. In the 1st or 2nd grade my class went to the circus. My mom’s best friend was one of our chaperones and her daughter was in my class, as well. I was pretty bored by the circus, to tell the truth. When I got home, my mom asked me how it was.
    Mom: did you like the circus?
    Me: It was ok … until the trapeze part. The man dropped the lady and she fell all the way down to the ground and died!
    Mom: Oh, No!! Really?? Did you see it??
    Me: Yes. It was horrible. There was lots of blood. I hid under my seat and closed my eyes.
    Mom: Oh, you poor thing! {{{Hugs me}}}

    Next day … she askes her friend, the chaperone, about the terrible accident that had taken place. Huh? I am never asked about my wild story … they just decide that I dreamed it. I decide to let them think so.

    Oh … and it turns out that the lady I am named after heard about Eena and Frances, and told my mom that Eena was HER mother’s name. Eena’s best friend was Frances, and they used to dress the way I described them and take the trolley to “town” to shop. Guess I wasn’t as lonely as I had thought!

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