When Lauren, my second daughter was about 4 she used to have issues, and sometimes these 'issues' would result in her decision to run away from home. All of a sudden she would run into her bedroom from outside, grab a small brown cardboard case, and start to stuff the contents of her first dresser drawer into this little case. (This resulted in only her knickers filling her case.)
The first time she did this, I tried to reason with her--but she showed determination.
"Lauren--what is wrong?"
"Everything--I have to run away!"
"'Cuz I just have to, OK?"
"Laurie--I am going to miss you."
"I know--but I have to go!"
"But it may be dark outside soon.."
"That's why I have to hurry"
With that she grabbed her little case and ran outside the front door. I watched her struggle with her little case as she determinedly strode towards the top corner of our street. I waited a bit longer, to see what she would do-then gave in and went after her.
"Lolli-pop - are you OK?"
"What's wrong? I thought you wanted to run away"
"I do- I just can't cross the street without your hand"
"That's OK. Let's go home. You can run away another day, when you are older a little bit more."
Another time something must have happened while she outside 'playing' with her sister and the neighbourhood kids. She suddenly rushed into the house and didn't even stop to grab her little brown case--she just took the whole top drawer of knickers out from the small dresser and started to head to the front door.
"Lauren", I called out. "Are you OK?"
"Why do you have your drawer in your arms?"
"I'm running away again"
"Oh - how long will you be gone?"
"Dunno--probably for the rest of my life!", tears sparking in her eyes
"Well, you'll probably need money then--how much? Is $2.00 enough", I replied trying to stay calm
"Yes-that's a lot."
"That's fine then--here you go--you can pay me back if I ever see you again later in your life."
"OK" she replied, as she stuffed the money into her drawer.
"I'll miss you"
With that she opened the front door, and headed through the front yard to the front gateway area. I watched her from a window, but she just stood there, holding the small drawer. Quietly I opened the front door and walking towards her, I said softly,
"Are you OK?"
"No!", she whispered as a tear ran down her little cheek.
"It's dark outside."
"I know--do you want to come back inside and we can plan your trip for another time?"
"Do you want me to put your drawer back into the dresser?"
"Would you like a warm bath?"