So, last week we got home from church after a long day of meetings and Noah got upset with me about something. It was such a little dumb thing that I can't remember... but he was MAD, I mean REALLY MAD! I kept trying to figure out what was at the bottom of his rage and kept hitting a wall. Finally he burst out with a phrase that I knew every mother is bound to hear come out of her child's mouth at one point in their little lives... but I just wasn't ready for it, not at age 4!
here it goes... "That's it... I want to be part of a different family!"
My jaw hit the ground. I was literally in shock.
Then I asked, "Oh really? And whose family would you like to be in?"
And then it came out -- to my shocking surprise, he actually had an answer! He looked down and sheepishly mumbled a last name. Seriously... I couldn't believe it. So, I asked him again.... "Whose family?" This time he answered much more confidently probably after seeing the horror on my face and really liking it! He repeated the name again. I hung my head down in defeat and my mind quickly reviewed a scene I witnessed earlier that day at church.
I was walking down the hall at the time when Noah's primary class moved from sharing time to their classroom. He didn't see me, so with a smile, I stood back and was excited to observe him with his classmates and teachers. Then I saw it all unfold... a little boy in his class saw his big sister (who is 12) in the hallway and she came up to him and gave him the most amazing, cuddly, genuine, LONG-lasting (seriously like 2 minutes!) hug. Noah stood there with shock and jealousy all over his face. That was it... that sealed the deal for him. He wanted to be in that family and wanted to go now! So, I'm sure as soon as I picked him up from his class that morning, he was calculating all my faults and weaknesses and measuring them up to THAT hug. And I think when he remembered that they literally live in the building next door to us, it would be an easy move!
So, later that week I was on the phone with my mother and I was recounting this story. And she couldn't help but remind me of the time I ran away from home when I was 4! Yep, no joke. She made me mad, I packed my bags (she even helped!) and I said, "I'm going to live with Gayla and Lonnie." Gayla was my mom's BFF who lived up the street and Lonnie was her son, my 4-year-old-BFF. We were always at each other's houses, she was like a second mom to me and I was the daughter she never had, so apparently it seemed like the perfect solution to my 4-year-old problems. So, I left the house with my overnight bag on my back as my mom watched me walk away through the living room window (and quickly called Gayla to tell her what was going on!). And I stayed there... for 4 days! My mom would call me and visit me, but never pressured me to come home. And after the 4th day, I hiked my little 4-year-old-buns back home and that was the end of it. Like mother, like son -- I guess!!!
Noah has grown up in so many ways these past few months and this little incident gave me a chance to ponder some of that and make a few necessary changes in our daily routine to support his growth.
After some more prodding, we got to the bottom of the issue (he had told me before church that he wanted to read his Toy Story 3 book after church and I forgot!) and we made up. He decided that he would forgive me and not move in with another family. I even asked him about "the hug" and he fessed up that he was super jealous of it. We ended the conversation with our own little hug. Then all was well in 4-year-old-land (for now:).
*picture courtesy of Abbie W.