The year is 1975. A 5 year old girl lays out a large blanket in the middle of her bedroom and starts placing toys in the middle. She ties it up in a huge knot and sticks an old broom handle in it....wait...she doesn't have a broom handle. Drama. Complications. She goes and asks her mother for an old stick or something to complete her hacksack so that she can proceed with running away forever and ever. For some reason it was important to have the stick with the bundle on the end....just like in the pictures.
The patient mother surveys the mess. The girl stands with her hands on her hips ready to defend her determination to leave...to leave this family which pays her no attention anymore, the jealousy and indignation rising in her chest! Instead, the mother pitches a curveball....
"I guess it's your choice...I'll be really sad if you leave. I don't want you to go. Do you think you could at least stay for supper before you leave? I made jello....your favorite."
The girl stands confused! She ponders the fact that she didn't realize that jello was her favorite, but apparantly it was! She feels paralyzed. She'd better stay....for the jello! So she stays for supper and after supper is so tired that she decides she won't run away today after all. Maybe next week she will make good on the plan to live in the small town's park and hide under picnic tables, eating people's leftovers and sleeping in the play equipment and eavesdropping on people strolling in the park discussing her amazing and sad departure. Next week would be good.
Now fast forward to a sunny November day, 2010..... today. The little girl is now 40, and another five year old girl is sitting by the front door, her purple Winnie the Pooh backpack strapped to her shoulders, resolutely tying her shoes.
"Lily, where are you going with your backpack hon?"
"I'm leaving. Nobody around here pays any attention to me anymore."
"Lily...don't be jealous...we were just rubbing Katie's shoulders because she picked up the basement....what do you mean?"
"You rubbed Katie's shoulders and you never rub mine. Goodbye."
She then marches out the door. Her mom, dad, brother and sister dumfoundedly follow. She walks, shoulders squared, in determined strides down the sidewalk.
At this point, the mother does a strange thing....things are happening fast, the girl is on the go...somebody has to say something so...."Lily!.... Lily! I'm making jello for dinner!...your favorite! Don't go...you'll miss the jello!"
There is a stunning pause while the mother waits for this to work its magic...she isn't even sure why she just said this, but she feels in her gut it will turn things around....
The girl doesn't miss a step as she says,......"No thanks!"
She marches on, around the house and on past the neighbor's. Her dad follows. Her mom and siblings run through the house to the back to see where she goes. She's crying now. She starts running as she realizes her dad is following her. He's still faster than her five year old legs. He catches her and swoops her up in his strong arms. He holds her close. She cries on his shoulder while he tells her he will always follow after her....that he couldn't ever let her run away without trying to get her back....that he and her mother love her every minute of every day...even if they don't give her backrubs as much as she would like. He carries her, as she sobs, back to the house...
...where her mother, a blogger, is waiting with the camera.
Once family unity is restored, it is uncovered that she had packed her backpack with toys and was on her way to China to live with the Keller's.
We are glad she decided to stay with us instead.
Although the Keller's are an impressively good choice.
And we had jello at dinner.