I stand on the corner, peering through the blue-black of night back towards my house that squats near the first turn in the cul de sac where I live. Deerfield Court.

I am searching for any hint of light… any crack in the darkness that would signify my parents are coming after me.

I am five.

And I’ve just run away from home, stomping past my parents in my footie pajamas and slamming the door behind me.

I wait.

No light.

I wait some more.

There is a bush to my right and I consider curling up there for the night. Will they even miss me? Do they know that I have gone?

I glance down the street that leads away from my own. Will it be better out there? Will it be worse?

I am five, trying to weigh the pros and cons of life on my own.

Trying to measure the love my parents have for me. Perhaps they will feel relieved.

I wait for the light.

But there is none.

I debate marching back and saying something. Maybe they just didn’t see me walk past the couch where they were sitting and down the entry stairs fully visible to that same couch. Maybe they didn’t hear me slam the door. Maybe…

Still no light.

I walk back to the house, a lifetime to my small legs, as tears gather in my eyes. I open the door and scream into the house, “Fine! I’m leaving!” and slam it once again.

I make it all the way to the end of the block before the door opens and they call my name and I run back, jumping into their arms as I cry. I don’t really want to go. Not really. I just want to be loved. (But I don’t say that last part.)

Years later I will tell my mom about this story… how funny it was that they didn’t see or hear me go the first time. “No,” she will say, “We heard you the first time. We knew you’d come back.”

I can’t tell you how hurtful this knowledge is. That my parents watched a five-year-old walk out the door but didn’t stop me because they didn’t think I was brave enough to keep going.

Now more than 40 years old, I sit in my office remembering these moments, my heart aching for the little girl who just wanted to be seen. Loved. Accepted.

And I see a pattern emerge.

I think I’ve always been walking out the front door of the rules of my life… of the expectations. There is a part of me who has always wanted to run away from the requirements and things that didn’t feel aligned—true—to who I am.

I’ve always done that thing where I go back and I yell. I make noise because I want someone in my family—in my innermost circle—to see me and go, “No, don’t leave. Don’t leave. We want you. We want to keep you. Come back.”

I am still here, standing on that corner inside me, watching that proverbial door for any sliver of light that says they’re coming because they genuinely miss me and they care.

Except this time I am an adult holding the hand of my 5-year-old self because what I realize is they’re not coming.

Not unless I make noise.

And I’m tired of making noise.

I’m tired of trying to prove to the people I thought I loved and who I thought loved me, that I’m worthy and deserving of being seen as I am, not for who they want me to be.

So for the first time in my life, I’m going to take that five-year-old and we’re going to turn and we’re going to walk away.

There is almost overwhelming sadness in that.

But there is also joy.

Because, also for the first time, I can see how much more is waiting for me if I can just be brave enough to walk away from the cul de sac.

Endings bring about new beginnings.

In creation. In life. In relationships.

May we have the courage to release what doesn’t serve us, the self-love to run towards what does, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Whatever your experience growing up, whatever your experience now, know that you are loved.

You are seen.

You are accepted.

And you belong with me.

Loves & hugs,