Today held a mini emotional roller coaster for me, but it was one I kind of knew to expect... allow me to explain.
A few days ago (technically last week) my daughter was watching cartoons when one of them allowed a young character to make a remark about running away from home. Knowing how intelligent and perceptive my child is - and how children her age try on every little thing they see to find the feel of it (bad or good), I thought "Oh no. If she caught the meaning of that, this is likely to bite me in the bun down the road."
I felt her out to see what she picked up (yes, she had gotten the gist of it) and explained to her that we do not solve our problems by leaving (in kid-friendly terms of course) and that children who run away are at risk of getting hurt. Hoping I patched the leak I let it go (you can't really harp on these things to a small child) and moved on. Then comes today...
I was on the phone with my mother when she walked into the kitchen. I turned to ask what she wanted to see her scaling and then sitting atop the cabinets/counter top. I told her to get down and please go to her room. She walked right back out of her room to talk (typically 'go to your room' means 5 minutes) about toys, pinching me hard on the arm with all four fingers and a thumb when I put up my 'shush, wait a minute' finger. Surprised, I frowned and shooed her back to her room. Out she came again, holding an art book. What was written on the clean, white page??
"I ran u-wae."
Now, I do give her credit for remembering the phonics lesson about ae making the long 'a' sound. However, as a generally lenient mother who's only offence was sending to her room (and having been pinched for my trouble), I was somewhat offended! If this is a bad living situation, imagine her living with any other more strict parent!
My shock must have shown on my face, because she began to cry and ran back to her room... only to come out with a cardboard Fancy Nancy game piece with "I am sorey" written across the back of the white board in pencil. I couldn't help but tell her I forgave her and that I always love her, no matter what. I did take the time to explain to her all over again that it is not funny or nice to say you will leave home if you get sent to your room or do not get your way, and that the world contains a lot of bad people who would not take as good care of her as mommy does because nobody in the world loves her as much as I do.
Even now I find myself a little disturbed at the thought. I know it is because the topic of running away has brushed my life one time in the past and was devastating. Thankfully, I am aware enough to know not to take that out on my little girl who was doing as all little children do at first; trying out something new to test the reaction she would get. Even so, the mother's heart in me cannot help but say a silent prayer that she will never feel the need to leave our home, even as I remind myself again what value there is in raising her well on purpose.
Tonight I look at that piece of paper and I can smile. Perhaps tomorrow I will laugh outright at the audacity of one so little for the mere infraction of asking her to go to her room! Either way, I will never do anything but praise the Lord for her presence in my life, and cherish her little friendship even as I snicker or get exasperated at her unexpected thoughts, phrases and actions while she feels her way around this big, wide world. :)