Wednesday, April 10, 2013

She Flew the Coop

Grace ran away from home on Monday night. 

Don't worry, she only got about 4 houses down the street.  And she didn't sneak out, she announced her leaving loudly to the whole neighborhood.  I thought this wasn't supposed to happen until she was at least 8 or 9?

I'm not exactly sure what lead to the event.  Most of the afternoon she had been in a terrible mood.  Maybe because it was Monday.  She has a hard time with me going back to school sometimes.  She and Haven were gonna "pack their bags" and leave to live with their "new family".  I guess if you're adopted the idea of a new and improved family just over the horizon is not such an unusual thought.  But I think they must have seen something in a movie or TV show that turned it into a formal plan. 

So the bad mood passed and we had dinner and the evening seemed mostly normal.  We put all the littles in bed and while Haven and I worked in the garage, Grace and Brian worked on some sight word lists.  Well, apparently Grace was in no mood for sight words.  All of a sudden the garage door burst open and Grace ran in crying hysterically.  She was screaming about going to find her new family.  She ran through the garage, down the driveway and off down the street.  I didn't follow her because I knew it would turn into a race.  It was dark outside and I was fairly sure she wouldn't travel far.  I just watched.  Brian meanwhile started walking in the opposite direction towards the mail box to get the mail.  Grace turned around to see who might be following her but nobody was (though we were both keeping an eye on her).

After a few houses she fell to the ground in a big puddle of her own tears.  I walked down to her and asked if I could pick her up and carry her home. She nodded her head and let me scoop her up.  I asked her why she stopped where she did and between her gasping sobs, she said she got scared.  I asked her if she was ever going to run away again and she said no.

I hope she's right.

I know this is probably one of those very common, very normal things that kids do sometimes.  But when things like this happen I always stop and worry.  Is this adoption related?  Is this an attachment thing?  Is Grace just a little more wounded, a little more broken, a little more damaged?  Sometimes she seems to be a more sad than other kids her age.  But other times she is so joyful and funny and full of life.  Are all 6 year olds a little bi-polar?  I think of myself back in high school and imagine my parents probably thought the same thing of me.

So have any of your kids run away? What was your solution?  I know, avoid sight word lessons and never leave the garage door open after dark.  But really, how seriously do I take this moment of distress?  Is it just a little kid rite of passage or a sign of things to come?  How do I keep my sweet sweet angel smiling a little more often? Am I worrying too much because she's my firstborn?
And can you really ever stop worrying about your kids?
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