When Katherine was about 2 1/2 she invented a couple of imaginary friends, a brother and sister named Hingen and Tingen. Hingen was her age and her buddy and cohort, although always willing to let her be in charge. Tingen was younger and was nearly always in trouble for one thing or another. They were world travelers and snappy dressers (Hingen once wore light-up Thomas the Tank Engine pants!). Hingen and Tingen have "lived" with us for years and we have heard fantastic stories and vivid details of their lives.
Hingen and Tingen had all sorts of marvelous adventures. They breezed through events that were difficult for Katherine - staying with a babysitter, riding the rides at the fair. They sat in Tine Out far more regularly than Kate did. We could see what was on Katherine's mind by listening to Hingen and Tingen stories. When our beloved dog and Katherine's dear older friend Bill died within a week of each other, Hingen and Tingen's family members began dying repeated violent deaths (falling off cliffs, getting eaten by bears). Hingen and Tingen were playmates and substitute siblings for Katherine and sometimes just good therapy.
Over time, we've heard less and less about Hingen and Tingen. I've not heard a single story in six months or so, but Katherine is getting older, so it's to be expected. Last weekend I was in the car with the girls when I heard Katherine say, "Rachel, do you want to be friends with Hingen and Tingen? I've outgrown them." Rachel nodded, but I'm pretty sure she didn't get the whole concept.
So long Hingen and Tingen, wherever you are. You've been wonderful friends! We'll miss you!