One thing that is true with little kids – you never know what a day will hold!
Yesterday, I was off studying for the class I’ll be teaching in Tokyo next week, when Eric called my cell.
“The girls came home.”
“Are they sick? Did you go pick them up?” It was 1 pm; they should have been at the youchien/kindergarten until 2:30.
“No. They ran away from school. Together. And snuck the whole way home.”
We live about a twelve minute walk from the school. It’s not close.
After lunch, the two girls were playing together (not usual since they’re in different classes and grades but Annie’s teacher has been letting her go downstairs to Livvy’s class lately). Annie had the idea to run away — “We didn’t like such a long day at school.” They snuck out into the hallway; switched into their outside shoes, down to the teacher’s room, and out the teacher’s private entrance that happened to be unlocked for some reason. (“But even if it had been locked I knew how to open it!” Great.)
“Together they went out to the street and began the walk home. “We ran the whole time until Livvy had to stop and then I held her hand to help her go faster.” They came to a bridge and then they saw him — a policeman! “We knew he couldn’t see us so we snuck up over the bridge and ran home.” (It actually was a construction worker directing traffic). Thus they arrived in the entranceway of our house. Much to Eric’s surprise – dismay – to say the least.
Eric walked the two girls (and Ian) back to the school. The teachers were perhaps even more surprised than Eric – they hadn’t discovered them missing yet. (And I’m guessing they paid for this later)… When I went back an hour later to pick them up, I was met with sincere apologies and bows. They all felt really bad, and the head teacher said, “Please don’t punish Annie because she’s been through enough today.” (Whatever!!) They have since announced that Annie’s class is not allowed to leave the class after lunch, and Annie and Olivia know very clearly that they aren’t allowed to play together at school. (We really want them to be bonding anyway with others in their class, rather than with each other).
Last night was a gloomy night in the Takamoto house. Annie went to bed right after dinner, no dessert. (Our take: Annie was the instigator; Olivia was the accomplice).
We talked to our friend Megumi late last night who knows our children quite well — and laughed hysterically, (though still acknowledging the worrisome parts of all of this) saying she has NEVER heard of any children figuring out how to run away from youchien and actually doing it! She decided that I have met my match in my sneaky ingenious little daughter and thatperhaps they have watched too much Spy Kids? (Only 1, 2, and 3-D…Are there more?)
We were/are concerned about what they did, but also are praying that God will change their hearts about going to school. We know that the language is still a hard barrier, and that in particular making friends is hard for Annie because of the language. Last week she and I were leaving the school and we saw two of her classmates walking away hand-in-hand. She said, “Mommy, I wish I had a special friend here in Japan.” We talked about her special friendship with Olivia, and she acknowledged that – but I knew what she meant. Would you pray with us for our girls as they continue to adjust to the language and culture and relationships at youchien? We are praying that God would provide a special friend for Annie — who might help keep her out of trouble even!
(Below- with two special friends in Pennsylvania who they DID bond with):
7 thoughts on “My Little Run-Aways”
Oh Sue!! Thanks for sharing this story! That is crazy, and I agree, you have met your mischievous match! 😉 I want you to know I am praying for your girls and for a “special friend” for Annie and Liv. I know how important it is, even at a young age, to have a “kindred spirit.” It broke my heart to hear Annie wishing for a special friend. You are all in my prayers! Much love to you all!! xoxo
What a story! I know how hard it is for our kids in yochien. I’m amazed and sometimes horrified at the stories that B and A tell us now as young 20 somethings about their experiences and how they interpreted them. We will pray that the girls find those special friends.
Wow! So glad the girls made it home safe and sound. Luke did the same thing when he was in yochien. He escaped and started walking home. We lived about 8 minutes from the yochien. Fortunately, he wasn’t as sly and got caught by one of the yochien mothers. He was about half way home. He had to be dragged back to the yochien by the unsuspecting mother!
This is so funny, yet at the same time, tugs at my heart. I will keep Annie in my prayers that she finds a special friend in Japan. Until then…hugs to them both!!
This is a great and funny story in retrospect, but I’m sure while it was happening it wasn’t so funny! Well, one perspective that I know you already value is that this does show your kids have a good relationship with each other.
We’ve had times when our kids didn’t have a special friend outside the home, and that has torn at my heart. However, I see more and more the benefit of having our kids have really strong sibling relationships. When our kids have a really special relationship with their siblings, that is something that will not only stay with them for their whole lives, but it will also be a great foundation for knowing how to have good relationships with others.
So, while I don’t mean to diminish important outside friendships, I do want to mention the bright side to good and trusting relationships amongst siblings…even if they do lead to doing things we wouldn’t exactly want them to do! LOL!
Praying for your family and your talks in Tokyo,
Geesh! That’s pretty awesome – that they could find their way home; that angels were working way overtime to protect them en route! I can just picture it – would make a great commercial for something!
Y’all have been on my heart today in a big way, Sue! Praying for you…and especially for your Annie. What a special little girl!! My heart just aches for her in this season of loneliness, but I have seen time and again in my own life how faithful God is to provide those kindred-spirit-friends. And I know from experience (and from your wise words to me!) that He so marvelously uses these things to enlarge our hearts for Him and others. I just know He’s got such GOOD in store for that one! love love love