Last week I talked about a recent epic Mom fail. This week I’ll share another time I inadvertently risked my child’s life about seven years ago when we lived in Arizona.
We had just finished returning books to the library. I buckle my son in, toss all my stuff on the front seat, and close the door. I go around to get in my side.
The door is locked.
Through the window I can see all the doors are locked, but I still pull on the door handle like somehow reality will change. I can see the keys sitting on the driver’s seat, along with my purse and cell phone.
But I know my son can unlock the doors. Except that he’s strapped in his car seat. However, childproof things have never deterred him before. I tell him how to get himself out of his seat. “Just push that red button.” He pokes at it, sucker in his mouth. Then he pushes harder, but he just doesn’t have the strength to get it. We try seeing if he can unbuckle the car seatbelt and free the car seat, but he can’t reach it.
There’s no hope. I’m going to have to call and get help. But my phone’s in the car, too, so I have to leave him to go back into the library. It goes against every instinct to leave my son alone in a car while I go inside. But, I think, if someone can break into the car to steal it (and who wants a 1998 minivan with 180,000 miles on it?) I could at least get my son out. So I hurry inside to try to find a pay phone. Apparently pay phones don’t exist anymore. I finally ask the librarian.
She laughs. “Oh, I don’t think it works.”
Not funny. “I need a phone. I’ve locked my keys in the car with my son. I need to call somebody.”
“Oh, I guess you can use this then.” She moves her desk phone toward me. I call AAA and go through the whole explanation of how I can’t supply them my membership card number because it’s in my purse which is locked in my car with my son.
Anyhow, on my way back to the car, there is this guy who has been outside the library trying to get people to sign his petition. I don’t know what for, and I don’t care. He’s seen me walk by now four times and starts pestering me to sign his stupid petition.
“I’m a little busy right now.”
Oh, the things that went through my mind. I didn’t say any of them, however. Let’s just say that the next time I need to write a dead body in a book it will be a guy that looks a lot like him trying to get people to sign a petition. I just kept walking to the van where I hoped my son wasn’t a sobbing hysterical mess. He was frowning, but I think that was because he had dropped his sucker.
So I lean my head against this really dirty window—when was the last time I washed this thing anyway?—and talked to him. People driving through the parking lot stared at me. What was this crazy woman doing talking to a car? A police officer drove by. I watched him, half hoping he’d stop. He didn’t. I tell my son to go to sleep, and for once in his life, he minds me.
I’m really thankful it’s only the upper 60s and not 112. I start thinking which window would be the cheapest to replace and look around for a big rock. Nothing. If it were 112, I have no idea what I could use to break the window. Well, he’s asleep, AAA should be on the way, and other than people thinking I’m nuts, there isn’t any problem with waiting. Just that my daughter gets out of school in 30 minutes and since our neighbors moved, there’s not a house for her to go to if I’m not home.
After about 25 minutes a tow truck pulls into the parking lot. They guy gets out with all his equipment. Then he sees my son. “Hey, if we’d known there was a kid in the car we would have gotten here in five minutes. Why didn’t you tell us?”
I’m pretty sure I mentioned it.
The guy gets his equipment out and starts prying open the door with this little inflatable device. Very cool, though frankly I don’t care if he rips the door off.
The door opens. My son wakes up. The tow truck guy packs up his stuff.
I think I’m going to throw up.
So from the desert of Arizona to the upper Midwest, I’m capable of the epic Mom fail. Somehow my children survive my best attempts to raise them properly.