Tonight my 7 year old moved out.
She was whiny and irritable from the time I picked her up at school, and had a complete melt-down in the car when she realized her sister had her stickers. Never mind that until she saw B with the stickers she had completely forgotten their existence. I remained calm (on the outside) and reminded them they could work this out on their own. But B is an instigator, and thought it was funny to taunt K with the stickers. At one point I looked back, really just to see what was going on, and B interpreted that as “the look” and handed them right over. Amazingly, K handed one of the sheets of stickers back, in attempt to share. But the whining kept up.
So we got home and I started making dinner. A broccoli and cheese calzone we had seen made on TV the night before. Three thumbs up, by the way. Quick, easy, and tasty. Anyway, I decided to pour myself a glass of wine while I made dinner. I very rarely have an adult beverage when they are up. It has nothing to do with not wanting them to see me drink alcohol, and everything to do with the way it makes me feel. I “feel” the effects of alcohol very quickly and on not much, and I like to be “sharper” when they are still awake. But tonight was a rare exception. And K took that as license that she could have soda and began whining about it. And I wigged out a bit, and sent her upstairs to have her little tantrum away from us.
Just as I was about to call up that she could come downstairs, she arrives with her little rolling Strawberry Shortcake suitcase, and announces she is leaving “this mean family”. I ask where she is going, but she won’t say. I say goodbye, and let her walk out the door.
It was very cold and windy here today. This occurred just after 6 pm local time, and the temperature was about 33 degrees, with a howling wind. It was cold.
I let her go. Waited a few minutes, then peeked outside. She was standing on the front walkway in front of our house. I sent B out to ask her if she wanted a pepper (which we were munching on while dinner cooked). She sent her regrets.
I waited a few more minutes, then went outside myself. Sat on the stoop next to her, and tried to put my arm around her. She scooted away. I asked where she was going. She said, with a smile, that she had called a cab. (We live in suburbia – cabs are not part of our world.) I asked when she expected the cab to arrive, and she made a big show of looking at her (watchless) wrist, and said “in about 10 minutes”. I said “Gee, 10 minutes is an awfully long time to wait out here in this cold – do you want to wait inside where it’s warm?” She shook her head.
Next I tried, “Are you sure you don’t want some dinner before you go? It smells really good in there.” Again, no dice.
Then she said “Cab’s here – gotta go”, picked up her little suitcase and headed down our walk to the driveway. I watched her go, then stepped inside and stood by the front door.
A minute later she rolled herself back up and said, “The cab is out of gas – can you give us some?”
“Of course – c’mon in and I’ll get you some gas. And have some dinner while you’re here.”
And the “cab driver” had dinner with us, because he hadn’t eaten breakfast, or even any dinner the night before. At bedtime she asked if he could live with us. Of course, I said, as long as you do too, I added in my head.