I don’t have many childhood memories. I think raving with glow sticks in the basement of Club Bijou when I was twenty has something to with that.
But one memory does stick out.
I was a five-year-old runaway.
Mommy, you are so mean! I’m running away!
Oh, yeah? Where are you going, Meredith?
I don’t know. But I’m leaving right now!
Okay, how long will you be gone?
I don’t know. A long time. A very, very long time. I don’t want to see your face anymore, Mommy!
It sounds like you’ll need a suitcase.
My mom pulled the old green suitcase out of the coat closet, and she began packing my clothes.
Will there be a washing machine where you’re going?
Okay, let’s pack lots of panties. You can just change those and wear these five outfits over and over.
She filled that old suitcase with my clothes, packed Cuddles (my teddy bear), threw in my toothbrush and the family’s tube of toothpaste, and she clamped it shut. She even strapped my pillow to it with one of Dad’s bungee cords from the barn.
I couldn’t believe she was actually letting me go! It was so exciting and scary all at once! My new life without this stupid family was going to be awesome; I hoped it would be awesome.
Well, Meredith, I think that’s everything. Come on, boys! We need to see your sister off.
My 35-year-old mother, a thirteen-year-old Michael, and a two-year-old Matthew stood on the front porch and waved at me as I lugged the giant suitcase down the driveway.
I took a few steps, looked back, turned my head back to the road, and stomped down the driveway. They all waved at me, all with sad looks on their faces.
Meredith, we love you! Remember who you are out there! Good luck!
I took a few more steps, looked back, waved, and Michael burst into tears (I now know he was fake crying to hide his laughter).
This carried on all the way down the driveway until my mom and both of my brothers were all crying fake tears on the front porch. Of course, I thought all of this was very real since I was caught up in the moment.
How could I leave them like this? They all seemed so sad to see me go.
And as I looked out at the big world at the end of my driveway, I was scared. Where would I go? What would I do? Who would protect me? Who would feed me and buy me toys?
I ran as fast as I could back down the driveway towards the front porch, suitcase dragging behind and leaving a trail through the stones, screaming,
PLEASE TAKE ME BACK! I’LL NEVER RUN AWAY AGAIN! I LOVE YOU, MOMMY!
Needless to say, my mother took me back, and they still laugh about the time I tried to run away. I had learned my lesson. Life would suck without them, and I never did that again.
I guess my job change was sort of like that.
I lasted all of two days at the new place before I returned home, back to what I know.
I love them like a family. Heck, the Office Manager married Brother Michael, so I suppose that does officially make them my family. I need them. And they need me (even if some of them were faking their sadness as they watched me go).
I should have known this would happen. I mean, really, who gets that sad when they leave a job if it’s the right thing? The grass isn’t always greener, folks. And money isn’t everything.
I was already having my perfect opportunity, I was already very successful at my job, and I left it. That was stupid. Very, very stupid.
I hate stupid.
I suck at running away. So I came back home to the car dealership, to the place I belong. And all is right with the world again.
I found my funny again, and Shaun says I’m much easier to live with now that I’ve pulled my head out of my emotional ass.
Thank God for that.