I’ve noticed at four am every morning I am woken up by the eleven-year-old. He is desperate enough to make noises until I creep awake from sleep. Tapping his toes on the hardwood floor, I have no recourse but lead him to the bathroom. There is where it all goes wrong.
Once that door opens he darts through and I lose him to the dark. He creeps around the circumference of the house blending into the shadows and walking on little cat feet. Suddenly his nails are silent and his fifty pounds are invisible. He has escaped.
I give the stage whisper, “Come back here. Get in here, I mean now. ”
It’s too late he has become the street runner the renegade that answers to no one. This well-mannered boy is not responding to a word I say. He has tasted freedom these last weeks of four am adventures and he is not going to be corralled by the likes of me. Tonight he is the curfew breaker with the don’t give a damn attitude. Rules are forgotten, his spirit is free and the coolness of the morning spurs him on.
I do what women have done over the ages, I sit in my chair with the door cracked ever so slightly waiting to hear the tapping of his bare feet on the stairs. I wait worried and annoyed. It is four am who else is sitting up waiting on their wayward boy to show back up after an early morning escape.
Perhaps I am an enabler, I could work harder at containing him and make sure he stays right there at the door, but somehow I love that this silent guy makes his getaway by moonlight every morning at four am. I secretly relish his free spirit during his twenty minutes of complete freedom.
He is such a house boy and this is such a rarity, so, I wait in my chair annoyed, sleepy, yet understanding the need to run free on occasion. I too have had my four am escapes and I know how much they mean to a twenty-three hour a day, law-abiding eleven-year-old Australian Shepherd.