Taking a break

“I hate you!  I’m going to run away!”

The next instant, she was pulling on her jacket and shoes.  She was serious.  I chose to ignore the use of the banned “h-word”, and not escalate the situation.  “Don’t forget Sparkle Bear”, I suggested.

She stormed back into her room.  I gave her a few seconds, then followed, asking what she wanted for dinner and whether I should pack her some sandwiches?  She was stuffing her bear and a blanket into a bag.  “I need a book”, she muttered.  Then she looked up.  “I’ll be back for dinner, I’m only going to run away into the garden.”

Oh.  I looked outside.  It was starting to get dark – it is mid-winter, after all.  “OK,” I said.  She kept packing.  Then she went to the door.

“If the door locks behind me, will you unlock it?” she asked.

“Of course,” I replied.  “Even when you run away, you can always come home.”

So she ran away, into the garden.  Her father found her when he came home, lying in the driveway*, wrapped in her blanket, reading a book.  I don’t know what light she was reading by, it was full dark by then.  I had checked on her once or twice, and made sure the door was unlocked.

She came home for dinner.  The rest of evening did not exactly pass smoothly, but she didn’t “run away” again.  Maybe I’ll try it, next time.

*This was safe: the gate was closed, and in any case, her Dad comes home by bus.

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