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