I Don’t Want To Go!

There are so many things that happened in my life when I was just five.  Why is it that I tie that one year of my life to so much?  I don’t really know why but I know that that year changed my young life in so many enduring ways.

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This was the house that I grew up until I was 7.

My Christianity used to mean so much to me.  It was how I identified as a person, I saw myself as Christian above anything else and it all started when I was five.  I heard the Jesus story in my Sunday School class and raised my little hand and asked Jesus in my heart.  It was a moment of so much joy for me because I knew that I was now what mami and papi were, Christians.  I belonged right?  Well, it is never so easy.  They were so proud of me and I think that Lil, mom, dad and I went to celebrate by having lunch at McDonalds after church.  I also remember doing something else that marked me, well, not for life but for probably a good couple of weeks…

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This was the little church that my parents went to back in the 70’s.

I don’t have a clue as to why I would even think that this was ever going to be a very good idea that got into my mind because on all accounts, it just wasn’t.  It was just plain stupid. My sister was 13 and it was the end of summer and mom wanted to go to the Schwinn Bike Shop to pick up a little knapsack (backpack) for my sister because the start of the new school year was just a week away.  I was playing outside, you know, like kids used to do back in 1975.  That never happens anymore these days.  What happened?  Well, that is a conversation for another day, needless to say that I was outside and playing with my neighborhood friend Tommy Gaither in my front yard.

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My mom called me up to the front door and told me that I was going to have to come in and get ready to go with my sister and her to do some shopping for Lilly’s school stuff.  I didn’t want to go and I told her that she could just leave me at home.  Looking back, how could I seriously entertain the thought that my mom would ever be that irresponsible? Regardless though, I devised a plan to not go.  Kids like Dennis The Menace do exist, just saying…

I had recently learned to ride a bike because I had learned on my sister’s 3-speed, banana seat with floppy handle bars, girl bike.  I went back outside and asked my friend Tommy to help me carry out my plan.  He would go out and stand between me and my mom as I made a clean getaway on my sister’s bicycle.  He agreed to it and so when my mom told me to get into the car, I ran into the garage and came tearing out running with my sister’s 3-speed and I hopped on as Tommy ran in front of my mom.  I was free!  My mom was no doubt frantic, because I was running away from home and she did not know what to do.  I could hear her yelling and screaming at me.  I must’ve really freaked her out looking back now. She did not know where I was going and I really didn’t have a plan either.

I continued to pedal my little self out of our cul-de-sac and into one of the side streets and out of view of my mom and sis.  I did it!  I didn’t have to go anywhere.  Now I had my life in my hands and I could go wherever I wanted to.  My mom jumped into her car and tried chasing me down.  I mean, I was only five years old?  I could have gotten killed easily by a car or something.  I was just flailing wildly out in the middle of a two way street.  My mom was frantically trying to find me but I had gotten a good head-start already by then. I had no plan and I had nowhere to go,  yet that did not stop me.

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The home that I left behind in late 2013.  My home, my family.

That reminds me of what happened in late 2013 when I left my home, not as a five year old but as a 40- something who did not consider the cost of everything that it would mean for me to be so irresponsible.  I did not have a plan beyond leaving back in 1975 and in 2013 it ended up playing itself out in the same manner.  There I was in my own driveway, loading up everything that I had in the closet into the back of my SUV.  Once I drove off, just as when I was five, I had no other plans.  My plan was just to escape and escape I did.  I “escaped” the love of a woman who had been a wonderful friend, I “escaped” from the love of five happy-go-lucky kids who thought of their dad as their ultimate hero.  I especially “escaped” the dreams of a little girl who saw her daddy as close to being an example of God’s unconditional love as anything on this earth.  Yes, I “escaped” from a lot when I was five and forty-three.  I thought that I got what I wanted out of it but was it worth it in the end?

Eventually, my mom called the cops and I had blue lights finally chase me down and stop me in my post-toddler tracks.  The police officer got out of his car and told me that he ever had to talk to me again that I would be sent to the place where all bad boys and girls were put, juvenile hall.  I had big tears in my eyes and told him that he would never see me again. He escorted me back home, as neighbors watched and I got the biggest whooping of my life right out in front of the house in front of all of my little friends.  My dad was incensed and he let me know exactly how he felt about what I did.

I apologized to my mom and sister that evening and asked them to forgive me, I never ran away from home again…well at least not until 2013 anyway…

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