Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Memories – Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

P.D. Eastman’s book “The Best Nest” was given to us as a baby shower gift. The kids could “read” it before they knew the alphabet. They even mimicked my tone. But one of the kids was not convinced our nest was best.

I remember the day she ran away. Cali wasn’t mad. She wasn’t even upset. She was just determined to find a better place to live. Aunt Lynn’s house seemed to be the answer.

My sister Lynn and her family lived about 150 yards away from us – past the loading ramp, the shop, and across the pasture and two cattle guards. Cali had been over playing with her cousins at Aunt Lynn’s house when she came home and made the announcement, “I’m running away. I’m going to live with Aunt Lynn now.” She was quite matter-of-fact about the whole experience. She generously offered, “You can be my aunt now, or my grandma. Whichever you want.”

I watched her pack her things. I explained that anything she left behind would no longer be considered hers, and may have even suggested she would need to pull the wagon. She seemed convinced that a few things would be all she’d need because Aunt Lynn had lots of everything. She packed her clothes in the striped diaper bag and that was it.

I watched her walk out the door. I went to the bedroom window and watched her little four year old frame walk past the tractors, plows, and water troughs. I called Lynn, 655-4280, and said, “Humor me. Cali wants to run away and come live with you. Please make it miserable for her.”

I waited all day for her to come home. I had plenty to keep me busy with the two little boys, Abe and Ty, but I was dejected and wanted her home. It was one long, sad day. Night came. Still no Cali. Lynn called once or twice during the day to give a report and say what stinky jobs she’d given her to do, but said Cali was happy and it didn’t look like she’d be returning anytime soon.

I wondered if my rationale for letting experience teach Cali the lesson would backfire on me. I wondered if Cali would think that whenever something else looked more enticing she could jump ship. I wondered if it would take two hours, two days, or two weeks for her to come back home. I wondered how to explain to Calvin that he was now Cali’s grandpa instead of her father.

Nearly twenty four hours later Lynn called and said Cali was on her way. I met her at the door as if she were one of the neighbor girls. I explained that if she came back home to live there would be no more running away, ever. Home was where she’d live; home is where she’d stay. Cali said that was her plan, and then put her things away and played with her brothers as if she’d never left.

A few years later Abe said he thought he might run away. Cali said, “Not me. I tried it once. It’s not worth it. Don’t do it Abe.” Abe took her word for it and stayed put. If Ty and Ande considered it, we never heard about it.

Interestingly, Cali lived at home the longest of all the kids.


Michelle said...

Hahahaha I laughed out loud the entire time I read this post. Oh Cali... what a funny little cutie. And a great big sister for helping Abe learn from her mistakes. :)

Deanna/Mimi said...

What a great story. I laughed but I also felt the picture of your words. It actually gave me a knot in my stomach and my throat, but also a laugh here and there as I knew the outcome had to be a good one. What a beautiful story teller you are. I loved the ending too. I have always said that we THINK the grass is greener on the other side of the fence until we get over there and then we look back and see our original place was GREENEST and more delightful. Make a great children's story Jane...get to publishing. Hugs

Cali said...

oh mom. this made me laugh and cry. Laugh because it's kind of funny. Cry because for the first time I'm hearing the story from a mom's perspective (me now being a mom). I hope Levin doesn't want to run away. It makes me sad just thinking about it. Here is a detail I still remember about that. The next day you and Abe and Ty came over to "borrow" the cookie cutters so you could go home and make sugar cookies. I remember I came downstairs and saw what you were borrowing, and well, that was enough for me. I was ready to go back home. I love you and I think it's true... home holds the most pull for me (of all your kids).


Deidra said...

I hope that when my kids want to run away they have a safe place to go try out before realizing they want to come back. A safe place where someone will put them to work so home will look like a better alternative! I love that you borrowed cookie cutters. You really worked it! And I laughed out loud (so I had to read the story to Chris) when you were worried about explaining to Calvin how he was now her grandpa!

Jill said...

Darling photo! You have the best stories, this one hurt my heart. Cali's comment was an added bonus.

Melinda said...

I am loving reading your blog! Everything is so insightful and what I need to read and learn. Your last post was perfect for me, such a great reminder since I struggle with some of them and am struggling with a new calling, I'm trying to mesh in a very cliquey presidency and I need to remember these.

This story of Cali running away reminds me of when several of y kids wanted to run away because we have Saturday chores. Thankfully they all wanted to stay.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Cali, I forgot all about the cookie cutter tactic! My what a smart mother you had :)

michelle said...

This is a good one.

How very fortunate that she had a safe place to run away to. I think I would have been waiting with bated breath. I could see that stretching on and on! The cookie cutter borrowing - you are one smart mama!

Oh how I hope my children will love our home, now and always.

Lucy said...

I remember running away twice. I made it to the train tracks once and only hid behind a large rock in the neighbor’s yard the other time.

It’s a great story but it makes me a little sad because it hurts to be the parent when your children think your home is awful. I’ve had more than one of my boys say it and I’m never quite sure how to respond. I think I’ve done it all - helped them pack their bags to letting them know how much it hurts my feelings to hearing it. Either way, they get over it. And then say it again.

She’s a cute girl. Glad she figured out what a fantastic place your home is.

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

I will never forget the day that Dylan told me he wanted to go and live with our neighbor.
He had been in trouble a lot that day. So he thought that our single male neighbor and his little boy would be a whole lot more fun!

(I didn't say so, but it probably would be more fun. I think they ate at McDonalds several days a week! LOL)

Becky said...

That is a lovely story. It made me smile but it also made my heart ache...being a mom isn't for the faint of heart :)