Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Disappearance of Gona

It is my understanding that it is not uncommon for children to have imaginary friends. Jimmy Stewart had Harvey, Calvin had Hobbes, and Mel Gibson had Mr. Beaver (which was totally creepy by the way). Even my older sister had an imaginary friend named Mandy. Then I came along and within a couple of years Mandy stopped showing up. I guess reality is better than pretend, even if reality doesn’t always do what you tell her to. : ) Also, I’m super cool and my silly sister didn’t need any friends besides me. Obviously.

Well, up until recently my sweet Adaleine (Sissy) had a friend who she kept close by at all times. I don’t know that I would call her an imaginary friend necessarily, but Gona {like Mona} was with us pretty much non-stop for a while.

Adaleine and one of the Old Navy mannequins. The mannequin's name? Gona of course!
The thing that made Gona different from Harvey, Hobbes and Mr. Beaver was that she was never someone that Sissy just imagined to be there. Gona wasn’t always a girl; she was whatever my girl wanted her to be. If Sissy got a new doll, her name was Gona. If she got a new horse, her name was Gona. If she was playing princesses, she was Princess Gona. You get the idea. And more often than not, if you asked Adaleine her name, the answer would be an immediate “Gona.” It became a kind of joke around our house to ask Adaleine her name when she was playing and act surprised when she just answered “Gona” so matter-of-factly.

Gona spinning around in a new skirt
I’m not exactly sure where Gona came from. I think Sissy adopted Gona soon after our little Judah Bear was born. It was a pretty crazy time with Landon living over a hundred miles away, a new little brother, me packing up our whole house to sell, moving in with my aunt and uncle for a few weeks and then finally transplanting our entire family from Kearney to Lincoln. That’s a lot for a two-and-a-half year old to process. Heck, it was a lot for me to process. But in Gona’s case, I think she showed up to keep Sissy company.

This is Gona concentrating very hard on her painting. It's a pretty serious business. : )
Sissy is a pretty low-maintenance little girl. She’s not terribly interested in ruffles and bows, doesn’t insist on wearing dresses like her big sister or require constant entertainment like her little brother. She will gladly play the Beast to Eden’s Belle, the Flynn Rider to Eden’s Rapunzel, and be the kitty instead of the princess. She’s a very easygoing and roll with the punches type of girl.

Adaleine had fun playing with Barbies at Uncle Todd's house this summer. Coincidentally the Barbie's name was Gona!
She’s our little sunshine. She has what I call a thousand-watt smile—made all the more perfect by the fact that her two front teeth are chipped. She has curly hair that she twirls around her fingers so tightly in her sleep that I have to cut out the tangles every day. She has beautiful squishy little hands that love to be held. And she does everything so slowly, and I have to remind myself that she’s just looking at things a little differently, a little more closely than I do. Or I will go insane. (I’m only partly joking.)

Gona dressing up in her snow gear!
That’s my little Gona girl. Gona doesn’t come around much anymore, and that kind of makes me sad. I miss Gona. But I think that Gona showed up to help my sweet little Sissy get through a weird time in her life. Even if we had a lot of chaos and weirdness going on all around us, there was always something that she could grab onto, talk to by name, and feel better. So maybe it’s a good sign that she doesn’t need her anymore. But there’s that little part of me that knows that my baby girl is just a little less baby now. And that part of me wishes that Gona would have stuck around a little bit longer.

A new stuffed elephant for her birthday! Her name used to be Gona. Now it's Simbo. Hey, at least the names are unique!

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