The other day Archer ran away. Apparently he had no desire to wait for me to get Fable into her sling and leash the dogs so he simply unlocked and opened the front door and fled the scene while I was in the kitchen filling my pockets with plastic grocery bags.
I realized he was gone as soon as I entered the living room. I went out on the porch where he usually sits, waiting but he wasn’t there. He wasn’t in the front yard, either. I scurried down the stairs only to see him a block down the street, his little orange shirt disappearing around a corner.
I screamed for him but no answer. No orange shirt reappearing… He was pissed off, acting out, flexing his independence… saying in short, “fuck you, mom… I don’t want to wait for you and the baby… I want to walk NOW. By myself.”
I quickly grabbed Fable and as fast as I could while clutching an infant, went after him, front door of the house wide open. For the record, one cannot exactly run with a newborn baby in her hands so I walked. I walked after my son who by now could have been anywhere. I panicked. I turned the corner and he was nowhere to be seen. Would he cross the street without me? Had he planned on going our usual walk-route or was he on his way to Jamba Juice — a frequent mother-son date of ours…?
I called his name again and nothing. And then louder, screaming his name again and again, picking up speed, until finally I spotted him, a block up the road, running like the wind.
He turned around, smirked and then went back to running away. Finally, at the end of the block he collapsed in the grass and kicked off his shoes, a sure sign of strike. I knew once I caught up with him I’d have a hard time getting him to walk home. I was hysterical. Furious. Hurt. Sad and honest to God, wanting nothing more than to kill him. I tried to explain to him without screaming that he can’t just GO RUNNING AWAY LIKE THAT AND SCARING THE SHIT OUT OF ME WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!???
After five minutes of trying to pull him up by his arms to walk him home, Archer finally agreed to follow me. He said nothing on the walk back and when we caught sight of home, he once again went running towards the door. He slipped into the house, slammed the door behind him and OMG, you have to be kidding me right now, locked Fable and me outside. Without so much as a key or a cell phone.
I knocked a thousand times on the door.
“Archer let us in!”
But Archer just laughed. That’s when I really lost it. Slumped in front of my door, I cried. I cried loud enough for Archer to hear me.
“What’s wrong, Mommy? Why are you crying?” said Archer, his voice muffled by the big red door.
“Please open up, Archer. Let us in…”
And he did. He unlocked the front door and let Fable and me in. And so went an hour lecture involving many tears, angry screams, kisses, hugs and finally naptime… And when Hal came home another lecture, group hug — more tears.
Later that night Archer came up to me and said he was sorry. “No more running away, kay mommy? I sorry, Mommy. I sorry, baby Fable.”
“Thank you, bug.”
Just in case, though? Door will be deadbolted from here on out and I will hereby remember to knock on wood after proclaiming “how perfect everything is and no, Archer isn’t acting out even slightly, aren’t I so lucky?!”