The Horse Sleeper
I realize being a child this day and age is a difficult one. However, kids seem to be flamboyant and over dramatized in their actions no matter the times. As a child I threatened many times to "run away" from home over not getting that barbie or fancy pair of $200 jeans and just slamming the door, going over to granny's house just to scare my mother. (And of course the cookies and milk to make it all better).
Now that the tables are turned I swore that my children would live to never want, thus never threatening to leave my home and be defiant. WOW! What a shocker it was when my children of 3 finally learned to speak full sentences and actually form opinions on their own. My oldest, (now 13), was 11 years old the very first time she decided to stand on her own and firmly believe that all messes must go unresolved. I simply asked that her room be cleaned up before she went to play with her horse Flash. I explained the concept of a clean room to her and all the advantages of having a clean room. She refused to believe that I was knowledgeable in this particular area. That she could find things just fine without having to "spruce" things up a bit. That the dirty clothes MUST go on the floor with clean ones in order to better find them in a hurry. That all bedding be to the side of the bed so that she could pick and choose what she would sleep with, on , or under. Every thing else that which did not have a designated space on the floor would be stored under the bed including candy, stuffed animals, dried up markers, and dust bunnies. She screamed and ranted and raved until she knew I refused to give in. "I'm running AWAY! I'm NEVER coming back!" And with that said, she packed her little Wal-Mart plastic bag with her childhood blankie, a barbie, a pair of pajamas, and a hairbrush. The whole time watching her pack I was most concerned with why did she not pack a pair of undies and a change of clothes? But, was also relieved that she took some concern for her hygiene with packing the brush. Then the realization hit me when I heard the door open and shut and my child to be found nowhere in the home I so graciously provided her. I stood there in a stunned silence, thinking and replaying my mother's words in my head "Pick and Choose Your Battles". Was this a battle I should have let go? Absolutely NOT. In order to be a good mother part of the responsibility of being a mother is to teach your children to care for what they have and to be responsible. Cleaning your room is an act of responsibility. I felt I was not wrong in my request but wrong in my approach. I called my mother frantic. I apologized for all the times I threatened to runaway and with her great sense of humor she laughed. "The thing is, kids need their mother." she stated. " She will come back in an hour or so when she has calmed down or is hungry and everything will resume as it was." She told me she loved me and everything would be okay. So I hung up the phone and waited. One hour goes by and then two hours. Still no sign of my darling little girl who ran away. I called all the neighbors and no one had seen her. I put on my jacket and headed outside with the car keys. Just as I was about to get in the car and go searching I notice the barn door open and flapping in the wind. I slowly walk towards the barn and go in to make sure all the horses are still there. Just as I round the last stall, There lay our horse Flash and my sweet sleeping daughter. She lay there in her flannel barbie pajamas, her head nestled next to Flash's, and her childhood blankie spread over the both of them. Truly a heartening moment. I stood there crying at the most precious sight I had ever seen and crying for the relief that my little girl had not truly ran away. I picked her up, let Flash nuzzle her awake and carried her back to the house. I told her that I loved her as I tucked her into her muddled bed in her chaotic room. The next day we worked together at getting that room organized and since she has kept it clean. Although now she gets teased about being the Horse Sleeper.