My little girl settled down to sleep on Sunday night in a sleeping bag on the carpet. Bedtime had turned fraught and she had begun gathering her belongings to put in her bag ready to leave. We sat down to talk about and discuss her plans. I suggested that her godparents, to whom she was headed, would probably bring her home so she decided that she would just take a sleeping bag and sleep on the ground. She agreed that she would likely be found and brought home if she slept on the pavement and thought she would have to find somewhere to hide. She had her pocket money and was going to buy breakfast at the corner shop. After chatting some more, and me letting her know that if she did choose to run away I would have to call the police, she agreed to stay overnight (after all, it is cold out there) and reconsider in the morning. I left her packing her bag with her eldest brother. She decided that she'd have nowhere to re-charge her Nintendo DS so it got left behind but I did notice that she had sensibly included a toilet roll. She wanted to try out sleeping on the floor and we agreed it would be good practice. She also agreed that she would wait until our friend flew home tomorrow night and discuss it with her before she made any decisions so I felt safe not locking her windows.
I find it hard to deal with her anger. She has always had a fiery and passionate temper and we often end up shouting at each other. She is particularly angry about daddy leaving and my broken promises. She is also fed up of being eight, being the youngest and not being allowed to do whatever she wants - as grown ups are, or so she sees. She very much dislikes being told what to do but listened with some interest, as I explained that I do things that I don't want to do, like washing up and laundry, and that, while there is no-one telling me I have to, if I do not do these jobs there are natural rules like dirty dishes and smelly clothes.
I, too, would like to run away at times, from the hard work of home ed, of running a home and of negotiating difficult relationships. It is often easy to perceive that others are better off or have an easier life. I have been challenged over this and my personality trait that looks at the dark clouds and not the sunshine and I am gradually learning to internalise this challenge. Yes, life is hard but it is fun, and blessed and full of joy and I can cuddle my daughter and watch old sitcoms and dance in the kitchen.