(Pulled this out from my “archives” and thought it was worth posting.)
I sent Em to her room this morning for back talking. When she came out 10 minutes later, she was pulling a pink suitcase and said she was running away. I asked her to stay on Stonington Lane, and out the door with her suitcase she went. Roughly two minutes later, I stepped outside and saw her about two houses down. I hollered after her: “Breakfast is ready. You might want to eat something so you have strength for all the walking you’re going to do.”
She promptly turned and came back. And during breakfast, we had this conversation:
Em: So, it would probably be a good idea if you got some walkie-talkies. You can get some at the repair (hardware) shop before I leave. Do you know how they work?
Kate: Yeah, but I’m probably not going to get any. You want some snacks?
E: I’ll pack snacks. And then all I need from you is a phone and some money. Do you have 50 cents?
K: That’s about all I have. What are you going to buy with 50 cents?
E: Probably some pizza.
K: I doubt you’ll buy pizza with 50 cents, but you can have it anyway. You need help packing?
I unzip her suitcase and it’s empty. So, the laughter I’ve been holding in now bursts forth. “You’re running away and the suitcase you were dragging is EMPTY??”
She finished her breakfast and headed into her room where she emptied her underwear drawer into a backpack and began packing another. This kid is prepared for homelessness: plenty of changes of panties, a pillow, a flashlight, some pjs, a pair of shoes, an outfit and – lo and behold – she packed a toothbrush and toothpaste!
K: Well, that’s a little more like it. Now I feel a little better about you being out on your own. When will I see you again?
E: I’ll stop in for dinner tomorrow.
K: Okay. I love you.
She turns to leave and this time I wait more like five minutes to peek outside and see where she is.
Back on the porch.
E: Mom, I want to be one of the Boxcar Children.
K: Well, homelessness is pretty tough. How about we settle for finding you a gigantic box that you can pretend is your boxcar and you and your friends can play in there?
That settled it, and I was good to my word, calling multiple stores before finding a hardware store that had a nice big box we could have. She can be a Boxcar Child safely inside my garage.