When I was 8, we lived on a 20-acre farm. Not a working farm, more like a wannabe farm. We had chickens, and a garden, but other than that, the farm served no real purpose except for secluding us from the rest of the world. Not exactly sure why we lived there, I’ll have to ask my parents about that one day.
I am the oldest of 7 kids, and we were all homeschooled at the time. My Dad, a Contemporary Christian singer, built a working recording studio in what used to be the chicken house. He called it “Hen House Productions.”
Even at 8, I had major abandonment issues. Not really sure why, but for whatever reason, there was always this fear that people would forget about me. Leave me behind.
The worst of these moments I remember like it was last week. This story makes me cry, TO THIS DAY. I have tissues at the ready as I type.
My Dad had invited me on a “date.” Which, when I was eight, looked more like a trip to McDonald’s or the video store. BUT, for a homeschooled girl with a phobia of being left out of the loop, it was the epitome of excitement and importance. Papa wanted to be… WITH ME. Alone. Just me.
The day finally arrived, I put on my best calico, and presented myself to Papa in the driveway. He told me to meet him at the bottom of the hill by the mailbox. He had to drive the half-mile down the hen-house studio to get something. He would pick me up on the curb.
I grabbed my “purse” which was full of quarters -about 5 dollars worth- and strutted down the long gravel driveway, awaiting my Prince Charming at the mailbox. After what felt like ages (to an 8-year-old) I saw the family vehicle coming down the road from the hen house. I flashed a smile and waved. “Here he is!” I thought.
My Dad, a talented practical jokester, decided to pretend that he couldn’t see me, keep going, and stop 10 feet down the drive. To this day, neither him nor I are sure why he thought it would be a good idea, but, nevertheless it was the plan he carried out.
As I stood there, striking a pose to impress my date, my worst nightmare unfolded. The car passed me up, and the driver, looking straight ahead, seemed oblivious to my frantic waving. He neared closer, and I waved with more desperation. The car passed me, and I, knowing that I had been forgotten, reacted in utter terror. Screams escaped my lips, tears began to flow, my hands began beating on the back side of the car as it swept past me. It was imperative that I get Papa’a attention. I CANNOT BE LEFT BEHIND.
By the time my Dad had caught on to my anguish, it was far too late. The damage had been done. He stopped a little short of his originally-planned 10 feet, and I frantically threw open the passenger door and climbed in before he could get away. By this time, my small 8-year-old frame had been taken over by waves of tears and despair. I was hysterical.
Even now as I write this, I’m affected by the memory. And today, I’m far more secure in the fact that my Heavenly Father will never leave me behind. That He will never forget about me, nor forsake me. That He, too, desires time with me, just me.
Today, my fear of abandonment manifests itself very differently. There are less tears, less desperation. But if I text you, and you don’t text back… heaven help you.