It all started on Sunday when we went for a “hike” in the wooded park behind our church. As we crossed over the wooden bridge above the creek, my husband joked, “Watch out for the troll underneath!”
“Daddy, don’t say that!” my four-year-old son responded in a voice that says he is 80% sure trolls are not real, but 20% afraid that they are. “Trolls are not even real,” he adds, reassuring himself.
“Actually, there is a troll that lives in Seattle,” I chimed in. “He lives in Fremont, under the Aurora Bridge.”
“That’s right!” my husband exclaimed.
Our son stared at us with big eyes, not sure if he should believe us or not. “We’ll go see him this week while I’m on spring break,” I told him.
Flashforward two days, to my husband pulling into an empty spot along Troll Ave under the Aurora Bridge. The Baby Girls were babbling away, excited to be going anywhere. “Where is he, Mama? I don’t see him!” my son said, craning his head in all directions, looking for the troll.
“He’s behind us, up the hill,” my husband informed him. We piled out of the car, loaded the girls up in their stroller, and started up the hill. About a block away, the massive head, big blue eye, and VW Beetle clutched in the long creepy fingers of the Freemont Troll came into view.
“Is that him? I see him!” my son said, but instead of running ahead like he often does, he stayed right by our side as we approached the famous landmark.
“Do you want to go touch him?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“Go see if he has boogers in his nose!” I joked.
“You!” He shot back, holding onto my husband’s hand.
I obligingly walked underneath the giant’s nose and peered up. “Yep, he definitely has boogers!” I called back. I headed back over and fished the camera out of the diaper bag. “Let me take your picture with the troll, Bubby. Daddy, too,” I added, noting the look on his face that said he wasn’t going over there by himself.
I snapped a picture of the two of them with the troll, and then we headed down the hill towards the shops and waterway of Fremont. About halfway down the hill, my son turned to me and said in a confident voice, “Can we go back? I want to take a picture on the troll’s hand!”
“OK, we’ll do that on the way back to the car because we have to pass by him again,” I told him. I don’t know what caused him to change him mind about the troll, but on the way back to the car he climbed up on the troll’s hand for a picture, then walked all around behind to see the back of his head, all fear gone.
“He’s just cement,” he told me.
“That’s right,” I said. “Nothing to be afraid of.” And with that, my little boy got a little bit bigger and more confident of the world around him.