June 27, 2012

Run Away, Run Away, Run Away

Max ran away today. He went to the neighbor’s house. Kim and James have 2 little boys so they are used to chaos and temper tantrums. He ran away because we would not agree to adopt a little baby girl. In fact, I think up until today, he may have thought he was adopted.

In the midst of the tantrum he said, “I wish you had never adopted me!”

I was like, “Um, you’re not adopted. I had you. You grew inside of me.”

He looked really confused and said, “I thought you went to Texas to get me?”

“You were born in Texas, Max, but you are not adopted,” I replied thinking all of this nonsense would be over and done with.

But no. He still ran away with a handful of quarters and a water balloon making toy. Mike called the neighbors to let them know he was on his way and then about 30 minutes later Mike went and got him. He was not happy and insisted he lived there now. I said that his dinner was ready and he instructed me to bring it to him at his new house. I instructed him to sit down and eat. He told he wished I had never been born, which was exactly what I was thinking at the time. I sent him to his room to think about what he said, which was really just buying me time to eat my dinner in peace.

If my blog were read by more people, I suppose I could expect comments telling what I did wrong in the situation and how I could have handled all of this better, but it’s not. I am 43 and my husband is 50 and I want a 2nd child almost as much as I want to have a root canal. But, I do feel bad for him. I mean, he sees his friends who have siblings and wrongly thinks they are having a ball. As the youngest of 4, I can assure you they are not. They are hoarding toys, stealing food and finding small spaces in which to hide and be alone if even for a few minutes. I used to hide in a coat closet on the 2nd floor. It was hot as blazes because there was no AC vent in there, but I would sit there sweating my ass of just to have 15 fucking minutes of alone time to read and sing and just generally not be harassed by any one.

Last night I was thinking about how my mom, when I was maybe 7, participated in some consumer study to get free dish towels. She had me eat some new snack and then asked me a bunch of questions about it and whether I liked it. It had peanut butter in it, which I despise, so I no doubt said, “It tastes like hell and you know I hate peanut butter,” but she filled in the sheet and got a dish towel. I endured peanut butter for a dish towel. We did all this sitting at our dining room table, where very little dining actually took place. We mainly used it as a desk – I wrote just about every high school and college paper sitting at that table. Anyway, it made we wonder what weird scenarios Max will remember about his childhood. Will he remember the night he ran away?

We also used to collect green stamps. In fact, I am pretty sure we got the bird cage for our parakeets using green stamps. Charlie and Loretta lived in a house purchased using the 1970’s equivalent of American Express points.

The real fact is, I do kind of feel bad for Max. We pay too much attention to him. He has nowhere to hide. There is no one to distract us from him. It has to be enormous pressure. In a family of 4 kids, you can sort of disappear for a while if you need to because your parents are so beat down and tired. But, there is no way I am adopting a kid to relieve that pressure. Maybe I can just tell him to go sit in a closet somewhere. Or I can send him to sleep away camp or something. I suggested to my husband we get a new puppy and he suggested I shut my trap. It was totally called for – I was verging on hysteria at that point.


Elizabeth Ferry Pekins said...

I remember standing in the kitchen telling my mom that I was running away w/ a suitcase in hand. She asked me where I was going and I said to Aunt Celeste's house. She said , Ok I'll call them and tell them you are coming and I think at that point I chickened out. I was probably Max's age. You are wonderful Claire! I miss you!

Rah said...

I remember trying to move to the neighbors house around 3 years old. My mother said I could go live with them and I thought that was fine, but apparently she was only calling my bluff. It was an awkward time for a while after that. Being an only child (and adopted) I can remember wanting sibling since I always thought there'd be someone else who would be in trouble for a change besides me.
You're doing a fine job Claire, growing up isn't easy on anyone. I'm surprised my parents let me live. I'm grateful for that now.

Anonymous said...

Oh Claire, I feel your pain. My daughter has been begging for a baby anything since she was in pre-school. I thought for years that I wanted one too. Nature disagreed. Turns out it was God doing for me what I could not do for myself.

When I was growing up it was my sister and me. My mother was ore-occupied w/ my alcoholic father and the fact that he wouldn't "act right". She was constantly shewing us off to "go play w/ your sister" while she buried her face in a book. The result? I've never had an intimate relationship w/ my mother. For years I didn't care to. Today I see that she gave me the gift of knowing what I don't want with my own child. I see how easy it was for her to isolate b/c my sister and I had each other to be with. I am so grateful today for my "only". She and I have a relationship I only dreamed of having with my own mother and my daughter loves being w/ me, but since she gets that time and is secure in knowing she gets that time, she is able to allow me my time alone. I works, for us. Keep writing Claire! I love reading your posts!