Yesterday, Emma comes running up to me with a very serious look on her face. She says to me, "Mom, I am running away to go and live with Max and Dorothy." (Max and Dorothy are our neighbors that live on the corner of our street.) Now here is the part where I think that I am going to call Emma's bluff. I say to her, "I am sorry that you are running away. We will miss you." Now, Emma just looks at me and then asks me for a suitcase. I tell her that all the suitcases are pack away and she will just have to think of something else to use. I go back to what I was doing and leave her to it. This is usually about the time when Emma decides to give up the game. However, today she did not give it up. She was in her room for awhile and when she came out into the hallway she was pushing a Rubbermaid container with wheels on the bottom that had been filled with her babies and baby clothes. She had dumped all the contents out of the container onto her bedroom floor and then proceeded to clear out all her dresser drawers and her hang up clothes. She piled all those clothes in and then snapped on the lid. She pushed that container to the top of the stairs and then put on her pink polka dot rain coat and her snow boots. She carried that big container out the front door and began pushing it up the street to Max and Dorothy's house. I wish that I had taken a picture of her pushing that container up the street all by herself.
While Emma is doing all of this I am watching her out the front window. Again, I am thinking that we will just call her bluff. She will end up just coming home, right? Nope. She pushed that container all the way up to our neighbors house, up their front stairs and rang their doorbell. Our sweet neighbor Dorothy answered the door and Emma said to her, "Dorothy, I am running away and coming to live with you." Dorothy tells me later that she just thought that she would go with the flow and lets Emma in. I see from across the street that Dorothy has let Emma in and I just have to laugh. The whole time I am thinking that Emma will be the one to give in but no. I put on my shoes and head over to Dorothy's. When I get there Dorothy is barely keeping a straight face. We chat a bit with Emma and Dorothy finally convinces Emma that I should take her clothes home but Emma is more then welcome to spend some quality time with Dorothy at their house. Emma decides that this arrangement is fine and heads into the house with Dorothy and I chuckle as she walks away. Dorothy graciously says to go ahead and go home and I can pick Emma up a little later.
I walk back over to our house when I see our other neighbor Wes outside laughing at the whole scene. He had watched Emma pushing her clothes up to Dorothy's house. Emma had told Wes what she was doing and told him that if Dorothy and Max weren't home she was going to come and live with him and his wife Cheryl. He is laughing the entire time he tells me this. I walked back in the door Dawson immediately asks me if Emma is coming back. I tell him that Emma just needed some time away so she is staying with Dorothy for a bit. This really begins to bother Dawson and he starts tearing up about how much he will miss Emma. Then, Aubrey, who seems to understand so much more then I think that she should begins yelling Emma's name and looking for her. I assure the kids that Emma will be coming back she just needed some time for just herself. This seems to mollify them for a bit.
About an hour later I head back over to Dorothy's to bring Emma home. She has had a wonderful time with Dorothy making Christms cookies and balloon animals. I asked Emma if she was ready to come home and help me take care of the boys and Aubrey. She turns to me and says, "Yes, let's go home. You really do need me to help take care of those boys and Aubrey!"
As I have reflected today I think that Emma was feeling like she just needed to be with some people that make her feel loved and special. I think that being the middle child in our family and Emma being as ornery and clever as she is can be hard. She is such an important part of our family though, even if she may not always feel it. I am so grateful for wonderful neighbors who love our children and can make them feel special and important.
I have also learned another important lesson...there is no point in trying to call Emma's bluff!