About ten years ago, I had one of those days… And I remember it like it was yesterday. Let me entertain you. I can laugh now, so you can too.
It was a humid suffocating heat, one late August afternoon, the kind of day you need to either be at the pool or in an air conditioned home. I decided to take my daughter to the zoo instead. Wading through the crowds in the stifling heat, was surely not my best idea for summer fun- but the zoo was our favorite place to be- my daughter loved the sights and sounds of all the magnificent animals and I marveled at her curiosity and excitement each and every time we went. We returned from a day in the smoldering sun traveling the trails of wildlife’s finest animal displays- all the while, inhaling the fumes of animal stench, soaking in the heavily weighted pungent air. It was grueling and wonderful- as most hot days at the zoo can only be… but well worth the exhaustion that it delivered just in time for her nap.
I was also nearly five months pregnant with my second child.
And sick as sick can come…
When we arrived home, I set up my daughter’s favorite Barney video to play, nestled her on the couch to inevitably grow weary in time for her mandatory afternoon nap. I taught music lessons every day while my daughter napped, so my first student would be arriving shortly and I needed to keep to the routine. The thirty minute video always settled her down, as I would spend that cherished free time getting ready for lessons.
I started my prep time by first slipping outside to our back deck to extinguish the burning flower pots with a good dose of hydration from the hose. Turning back to look through the sliding glass door as only a nervous mom does when she steps a few feet away from her toddler, I saw my girl walking toward the door smiling.
I waved to her as she stood by the glass door waving back. I thought, “Why did she get up? I thought she was exhausted! Crap.”
Then in a blink of an eye, I heard the dreaded sound…
I put the watering can down and ran to the door where she stood with a smurk only an adorable little two year old can pull off…
She giggled and ran away…
I was locked out of my house, in the scorching heat, hormonally high on adrenalin, sweating profusely on a scalding deck… completely and utterly FREAKED OUT.
“Come BACK!!!” I started pounding on the glass, looking into the house searching for any movement whatsoever that would tell me my girl is surely close by…”
I bolted around the house to try to find a way in… surely I left the front door unlocked in my pregnancy incompetence, yes? No. Windows? Every last one closed. I was now in a complete panic.
My two year old was locked in an empty house and I couldn’t get back in, and nobody was around to help me.
I ran back to the sliding glass door screaming for her to come. I was now officially losing any and all rational thinking, as delusional visions attacked my sanity forcing me to believe that my daughter had surely fallen down the stairs and cracked her head open lying in a pool of blood. Surely she had climbed into the stove which I probably left on last night, while cooking that chicken noodle casserole. No, she was stuck under a four hundred pound cabinet that fell on her precious little body, unable to escape the crushing blow.
I did what any hormonal, over heated, pregnant mama would do.
I grabbed hold of the handle to the sliding glass door, propped one trembling leg up on the wall of the house for support, and with a guttural roar…
I yanked that sucker out of the wall, tearing a gaping hole where the lock once held my baby captive in my home- the door’s lock now completely torn out of the frame, still attached and dangling off of the handle of the door.
I ran into the house frantically searching for my baby, screaming her name as the sweat dripped off my head and soaked my tank top. I couldn’t find her anywhere!! I went through every bedroom, downstairs to the basement and even into the laundry room and garage. She was nowhere to be found. I ran back up the stairs and as I rounded the corner of the living room, I peered over the couch and there she was…
Nestled deep in the cushion, sucking her thumb, sound asleep.
I gasped. Then cried. Then inhaled the deepest gulp of air, closed my eyes and hung my head, bent over while my hands landed on my knees as I exhaled sweet relief.
My first student was here.
“Well hello! Come on in! How are you doing today?” I cheered, trying to wipe the sweat off my forehead and pull myself together.
As I escorted this lovely girl into the house, she looked at my sweat-stained shirt and then at the gaping hole where the sliding glass door was once locked…
I walked over to the wreckage and managed to maneuver the door back in its place as best I could.
“Funny story…” I started. “But first let me carry this little bugger off to her crib before we get started.”
I picked up my sleeping baby, and walked her back to her room as I pondered the last 30 minutes of our life, and realized this one would surely go down in my history book of parenting. I then realized I would have some explaining to do with my husband when he got home from work.
*The following weekend, we installed a completely new sliding glass door, placing the lock way up high on the top of the frame… so no little hands could ever, EVER do that again.