“You stay right there,” I said to Bubbers yesterday while he was holding onto the couch in our family room, “I’m going to take the trash out and I’ll be right back.”
I hefted the trash bag out of the can and quickly walked out to the garage.
Humming to myself, I threw the bag into the garbage bin and turned back to go inside.
I reached out and took hold of the door knob that led back into the house and gave it a good turn.
But it didn’t open.
I stared at the knob in confusion and tried again, but it still didn’t turn.
Suddenly my brain registered that the door was locked.
What?! There’s no way it’s locked! I thought as I frantically tried again and again, We’ve never locked this door before. We don’t even have a key to it!!!
But no matter how many times I tried to turn the knob, it didn’t budge.
And suddenly I heard a playful squeal from Bubbers inside the house and my heart rate shot up to 4,000 beats per minute.
Holy garbage!!! I thought as all the blood drained from my face, I’m locked out of the house and my son’s still inside!!!
My breath started coming in short spurts and my mind raced.
What do I do?? What do I do??!!??
I had no phone. No keys. Nothing that would help me get back inside.
I knew all the other doors to the house were locked, but just in case I slammed the button that opened the garage door and sprinted around to try all the doors.
No luck! They were all locked just as I expected.
Trying not to panic, I turned around and sprinted through the cold air with no jacket to a neighbor’s house.
I punched the doorbell and waited impatiently.
But nobody answered.
I sprinted across the street to another neighbor’s house, but still no answer.
Come on!!! I wanted to scream, Someone has to be home!!
With every second that went by I feared more and more for Bubbers’ safety.
The house isn’t all baby-proofed, yet! my mind screamed at me.
Horrible scenarios started playing in my head.
What if he crawls under the sink and swallows all the 409??
Or pulls off a furnace vent cover and falls inside the vent??
Or climbs up the stairs, slips, falls and hits his head on the hardwood floor??
Finally, I found a house with music playing inside.
Someone has to be home here! I thought with relief.
A sweet looking elderly lady answered the door.
“Hi, my name is Heidi and I just moved in a couple houses down,” I said quickly, pointing in the direction of my house.
“Oh, yes, dear,” she said with a kind smile, “I knew someone had moved in, but I hadn’t seen you, yet. My name’s Sharon.”
“Hi Sharon,” I tried to smile back, “I’m sorry, this is a terrible way to meet, but I just locked myself out of my house and my little boy is still inside. May I use your phone to call the police?”
“Oh my!” she said and opened her screen door for me to come in, “Yes, of course.”
She handed me the phone and I was so distraught I could barely remember how to use one.
My shaking fingers dialed “9-9-1”.
Oh garbage!! I thought to myself in frustration as I clumsily cleared the phone and tried again.
The phone rang a few times and then someone answered.
“What is the nature of your emergency?” the voice on the other line asked.
“I locked myself out of the house and my one-year-old child is still inside,” I said as fast as my articulators would let me.
“What’s your address?”
I told him.
“Where are you now?”
“At a neighbor’s house.”
“What’s your name?”
I told him.
“Okay, we’ll send an officer out to help you,” he said and we hung up.
Partially relieved, but partially confused, I thought, What now? Do I just sit here and wait for them?
Not knowing what else to do, I profusely thanked my neighbor and told her I was going back to my house to be near my son.
She was very kind and asked if there was anything else she could do to help, but I said no and quickly left, sprinting back to my house.
I hurriedly got a coat out of the garage to keep me warm and went around to the front porch.
Plastering my face against the window, I peered inside to see if Bubbers was within sight.
I couldn’t see him, but I could hear his little babbling coming from the kitchen. And it wasn’t long before he toddled along the wall out of the kitchen and spotted my face smashed up to the living room window.
“Eeee!” he squealed with a smile and pointed at me.
“Hi there!” I replied loudly as if nothing was wrong, “How are you doing?”
“Aaa-eee!” he squealed back and watched me expectantly.
We chatted back and forth for a while as I prayed that he wouldn’t go near the stairs and the police would come soon.
But it wasn’t long before he figured out that Mommy was oddly transfixed to the window and was not coming back inside like he wanted.
And he started to cry.
He held onto the wall, pointed at his Mommy’s flattened face and cried angry tears.
I was so relieved that he was safe and staying in one place that his crocodile tears didn’t bother me at all.
I just kept my nose pressed to the glass and told him everything was okay, and waited to hear the sound of a police car pulling into my driveway.
Eventually, though, Bubbers got tired of standing there yelling at me and he moved back into the kitchen to continue his complaining in solitude.
I smeared my face from side to side, trying to get a better look inside but knew it was impossible to see through the walls without magic laser vision.
So then I turned my face and smashed my ear to the glass, straining to hear the Bubbers man. He would still cry out from time to time, so I knew he was still okay.
Suddenly I heard the sound of two cars pull up and stop in front of my house.
In no time flat, I hurdled off the front porch, plowed through the bushes and practically assaulted the tall young officer who stepped out of one of the police cars.
He looked at me and smiled, “So, I hear you have a burglar.”
Three other officers got out and joined him.
“I wish!” I replied, “I didn’t know my husband locked the garage door, so when I took out the trash I got locked out of the house and my son is still inside!”
I rambled on like the frantic mother I was as we all followed the tall officer around the outside of my house, and I wondered why he was moving so slowly and didn’t seem worried at all.
“Do you have a back door?” he asked calmly.
“Yes,” I answered, “But the gate is locked and we can’t get to it.”
“What about your other doors and windows?”
“All locked,” I wrung my hands.
“You need to teach my roommates how to lock up,” an even younger officer suddenly piped in, stepping up next to me and smiling, then shyly looking away.
I stared at him and thought with absolute disbelief, Holy smokes, are you flirting with me?!
The other officers were smiling and trying to joke along.
I wasn’t amused.
My baby is all alone locked inside my house mixing Comet with 409 and eating it and you guys are out here joking around and flirting with me!?! This can’t be happening…..
I was about to lose it when the tall officer asked me, “Do you have a screw driver?”
Relieved that he was going to take some action, I answered, “Yes, but I’m not sure where my husband put it.”
I hurriedly found some tool boxes and opened them all, practically dumping all the contents on the floor in case it would make things go faster.
The tall officer found a screw driver and a hammer.
Then he turned and looked at an older officer standing nearby and said, “I saw my friend do this once.”
And he started clumsily hammering at my door knob.
That’s when I realized two things:
1) He had no earthly idea what he was doing.
2) If my baby was going to be rescued, I had to take matters into my own hands.
I turned and headed for the side of the house, determined to scale the fence and claw my way through our French doors.
Then I vaguely heard the older officer kindly ask the tall young officer, “Did you try…..?”
And I was almost to the fence when I heard the officers suddenly shout, “We got it!”
Turning back, I saw the door swinging wide open and the light pouring out of my house.
That’s when my spirit separated from my body and I watched myself running in slow motion past all four men, leaping up the stairs, bursting inside and sliding into the kitchen.
Bubbers was standing there holding onto the wall with wet, red cheeks and a loud, angry cry.
Without slowing down, I scooped him up and held him in my arms.
“It’s okay! It’s okay!” I cooed over and over and over again, comforting myself more than him.
I walked him back to the garage and he stopped crying when he spotted the four strange men standing there.
“Thank you so much!” I said, reaching out to shake the tall officer’s hand, immediately repenting of the frustration I’d felt towards them just moments earlier.
He shook my hand and smiled. Then they all smiled at Bubbers and we said goodbye.
We waved and watched them get in their cars and leave.
Then I turned back into the house and thanked Heavenly Father that my Bubbers was safe and everything turned out okay.
And I spent the rest of the day holding my little boy tight with every door in the house unlocked and propped wide open.
I tell you what, that was one scary experience!
Afterwards, I called Charming and told him what happened and he felt so bad.
“I am so sorry! I suddenly decided to lock that door last night and totally forgot to tell you!” he said apologetically.
Then we made a plan to make sure it would never happen again.
At the end of the conversation, Charming said, “You know you could have broken a window if Bubbers really needed you, right?”
I paused, then I laughed, “Holy smokes, that never even occurred to me!!”
“Are you serious?!” Charming replied in disbelief.
“Yes,” I said honestly, “I was so distraught that never even crossed my mind. I’m so glad you said that so I’ll know next time!”
As you can see, this was a great learning experience for Charming and I.
And in addition to learning a great many things, I also came away being grateful for many things, not the least of which were:
1) Bubbers was safe
2) Officers were available to help and figured out a way to break in
3) I wasn’t wearing my fluffy blue robe