Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh, How The Braggart Doth Fall

Amy at My Front Porch Looking In wrote a post this week that reminded me of something I did once upon a time...

When Mia was a baby, I didn't worry much.

Rather, I worried about pointless things like sleep schedules and proper nutrition (Things I still worry about, truthfully. I'm an old dog.) and usually didn't worry too much about really serious, dangerous things. Choking. Drowning. Broken bones. Amber alerts. It was like those things were too awful to imagine and therefore my brain shimmied away to focus on easier topics. Topics like, how many hours of sleep does the average 13 month old need? And, has she had the proper servings of protein and vegetables today? Safe, boring topics.

One day, I took Mia out to lunch with some family members - cousins, aunts, my brother. A hodge podge of an impromptu gathering. I was so excited to have adult interaction, that I must have been quite loopy with joy. I joined in every conversation, barely paying attention to whether Mia was eating much actual food or just munching on the chip basket. When one of my cousins looked our way with round, panicked eyes, I stopped what I was doing to look at Mia - who appeared to be choking.

Appeared. She was really only gagging on a bite of unfamiliar restaurant food, but for everyone watching, it seemed to be a scary situation. I explained that she gagged quite often - sensitive reflexes? - and that I usually didn't worry about it. In fact, I went on, Justin would have freaked out had he seen Mia's gagging on a regular basis, but I - the neurotic one - usually stayed pretty calm. I explained how I rarely worried about such things: I am calm in the eye of a storm. I am responsible and thoughtful when worrisome situations arise.

Lunch ended, a few people started leaving to go back to work, and I gathered up my gaggy child to get her home for naptime. We waved goodbye, and left the restaurant. Being a baby, Mia was still fascinated by my keychain, so I absently handed it to her while we were buckling her into the carseat. I had my hands full with a sippy cup and diaper bag, a blankie and purse, and took my time arranging all of our belongings before closing Mia's door and heading up to the driver's door.

Which was locked. Firmly locked and latched.

I hurried back to Mia's door: also locked. I wondered what I'd done with my keys...

Oh crap, I thought.

As I heard the terror-movie music crescendo inside my head (WREEENK WREEENK WREEENK WREEENK!!), my eyes slowly traveled down to my baby daughter's hands. There hung my keys, jangling in her fist while she enjoyed the buttons on the key fob.

I stood paralyzed for a moment, wondering how long it would take her to randomly punch the button to unlock the doors, and was stunned when Mia suddenly tossed the keys down onto the seat beside her - out of reach. NOOOOOOO! I reached out as if I could catch the keys mid flight, only to have my hand knock painfully against the window.

As desperation set in, I scanned the parking lot, hoping to see - what? - a stranger who could miraculously offer me a copy of my own car key? That not being the most logical way to solve my problem, I decided to run back inside to find help from my family. I was terrified of leaving Mia alone in the parking lot, but...it wasn't like someone was going to take her. So I settled for keeping the car in my line of sight. Which meant I couldn't enter the restaurant; I had to stay at the door.

My family - the people I'd just told about my ability to remain calm in worrisome situations - was sitting at a table at the VERY back of the room. At the lunchtime rush. With every table between the front and back of the restaurant filled to capacity. With conversation and laughter happening at all of those tables.

"JOY!!!" I yelled to one of my cousins, as LOUDly as I possibly could to make sure she'd hear me over the din of the other customers.

Every. Last. Head. In the building turned towards the front door. Every. Last. Head. And yet, I was oblivious to everything but the fact that my baby was alone with my keys inside a locked car. "I LOCKED MIA IN THE CAR! SHE HAS THE KEYS!! COME HELP ME!!!" My voice had reached it's screechiest pitch near the last of my yelling, and by this point, a light bulb went on - a spotlight, I should say - and alerted me to the fact that I'd gained the attention of a roomful of strangers. Strangers who were probably somewhat frightened by the manic appearance of one (now highly embarrassed) chick.

I hightailed it back to the car. The rest of my family quickly joined me, and we tried to figure out how to get the car unlocked. To say I was panicking is an understatement. (Can you imagine what my sleep-schedule-loving self was thinking? "BUT IT'S NAPTIME!! I NEED THOSE KEYS, NOW!!" *snort*) And not only was I panicking, I was completely embarrassed for having just explained my even-headed tendencies in situations just like this one.

When it seemed I was doomed to call a locksmith, Joy - in all her wisdom - asked, "Um, have you tried reaching your hand in through this window?" I went around to the passenger side, and sure enough, the window was down. Joy slid her arm easily in the car, punched the automatic lock button, and *click*, the spell was broken.

My mouth hung open, amazed that I hadn't thought to check all the windows.

And then: laughter. Doubled over, muscles protesting, nose snorting, cheeks burning, laughter. I laughed and laughed, while my family shook their heads at my dumb move. I kept laughing all the way home.

Because sometimes? You just have to laugh to keep from crying.

8 comments:

  1. Oh! I enjoyed hearing this so much!! So glad I'm not the only one!

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  2. Oh no, no! Oh my GOODNESS! This is the funniest thing I've ever heard. Funny? Yes, but in that awful, scary way where I could completely imagine how you must've felt because the entire time I was reading I kept thinking "but was it a very hot day?" even though I *knew* everything was going to be alright because obviously Mia's still around. So all I have to say is, thank heavens for an open window!

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  3. Oh Sarah, what a great story.

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  4. You are one very humble lady ;)

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  5. Oh man, that's a doozie! I would totally do the same thing. And bless your heart for sharing it on the Internet for all of us to see :D

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  6. What a great story! And such humility to share it with us all. :) I live in terror of locking Maria in the car. My mom locked me in the car once when I was a baby and the police had to break the window to get me out. Every time I put her in, I check for my keys, then I go to close the door, after checking for my keys again...I'm so paranoid sometimes I think I should stop checking, because I am inviting bad luck.

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  7. Oh my goodness how scary!! That is my WORST nightmare come to life! Good to hear that everything worked itself out quickly! And that most of your family have little children and can TOTALLY relate with a scatterbrained Mommy with too many things in her hands to remember those all too important keys! :) Thanks for sharing and I hope you don't mind this lady laughing WITH you as well! :)

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  8. That's a good one! I always carry a spare car key in my purse, ever since I started having babies. I'm too absentminded not to.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?