"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

27 June 2013

Major Mommy Fail

I don't even know how to begin writing this, you guys, because it still makes my stomach turn to think of all that could have happened. But I'm all about keeping it real, and I'm never out to pretend like I've got life all figured out. So here goes...

I had a major mommy fail yesterday.

We went to a playdate yesterday morning at one of the million pools around here. B loves the water and he loves people, especially his buddies, Jacob and Troy, so he just had a blast.

(Side note: Yesterday, as I was washing our breakfast dishes, B was playing with his trains. I overheard him saying, "I love you, Jacob. I love you, Troy." It was the first time I had ever heard him say "I love you" to anyone other than N, me, and my parents. Obviously, he wasn't really saying it TO anyone, but still. So sweet!)

Anyway, he was having so much fun at the pool that, against my better judgment, I let him play for nearly four hours before wrapping it up and shuttling us home. Little B was so tuckered out from all that hot Texas sunshine, water, and friends that his eyes began drooping almost as soon as he got in the car, and by the time I pulled into the garage, he was fast asleep.

I decided to let him sleep in his car seat while I put our wet items out to dry in the backyard sunshine. I quickly gathered up all the swimming gear, Puddle Jumper, and towels and walked out the patio door.

A gust of wind blew ... and the patio door slammed shut behind me.

Do you ever have those moments when what has just happened is just so unbelievable that for a moment, the most illogical thoughts go through your mind, because you're hoping beyond hope that this did not just happen?

I knew I had closed the garage door behind me when I pulled the car in, because that's what I always do. But I ran to the gate anyway, hoping that the garage door was open. Then I checked all the windows, hoping that maybe this was a day I would be thankful that B sometimes plays with the levers on the window locks and leaves them unlocked. Nope. Then I wondered if I could pick the lock with the grilling fork.

I'm telling you. Illogical.

Then I lost my mind and counted the hours until N would be getting home (way too many).

So I ran next door to our wonderful neighbors and asked if I could use their phone. I didn't know N's work number off the top of my head, so I dialed his cell. He didn't pick up (which he rarely does at work), so I left a "You have to come home NOW" message with the neighbors' number. I ran back to listen at the garage door, and then continued trying to somehow get the patio door open.

Not thirty seconds later, our neighbors came and found me, saying N was on his way. They kept me company, brought me ice water and fruit, offered to bring me a chair, and chatted with me to distract me from worrying, bless their hearts.

And then B woke up.

I have to say, there is nothing worse than hearing your child crying, "Mama, open door! Mama, hold me!" and not being able to do anything about it. I kept talking shouting to him through the garage door, being so grateful that I had left the car doors open so he could hear me. I asked him if he could hear me, if he could calm down, if he could take deep breaths. He kept saying, "Yeah!" but would start crying all over again.

It was the longest half hour of my life.

I found myself wishing -- for the first, and probably only, time in my life -- that he knew how to unbuckle himself so he could reach the garage door opener clipped to the visor. 

I have never been so glad to see the bright blue of my husband's Subaru turning into our alley as I was yesterday. He must have hit the garage door opener in his car the moment he turned, because as soon as I saw his car, the door opened, and I literally crawled under it to get to B as fast as I could. Poor kiddo was so hot and sweaty, and his eyes were red-rimmed from crying so hard. The relief on his face when he saw me broke my heart, and as soon as I got him out of his car seat, he just wrapped his little toddler arms around me tight and put his head on my shoulder. And when he saw his daddy, he just sobbed and sobbed.

We thanked our neighbors, took B inside to cool off, and N played with him while I went to the bathroom to get my frazzled nerves together.

Once we were all calm, we went to the hardware store to get a lock box for our spare key so that this never, ever happens again. B asked if he could get a new flashlight (because he took apart the little one he had and now we can't find several of the pieces), and of course, we couldn't say no. Plus, $2 is a small price to pay for what he had gone through!

When we got home, he wanted to go next door to show the neighbors his new flashlight. He was in bed by six o'clock and slept through the entire night. I'm writing this now because he was still asleep at 7:30 this morning (I can't remember the last time that happened. He's usually up by 6:30 these days.) and then decided he was ready for a nap by 11:45.

I'm praying for more merciful grace, that he won't remember this for the rest of his life. And I am still giving thanks that the car had been turned off, that I had left two doors and the back hatch open, as well as the doors to the laundry room and kitchen, so there was plenty of cooler air circulating through the car and garage. When I think of what could have happened, if I had left the car running, if we'd had to call 911 ... merciful grace.

I held my breath this morning as we walked out to the car to go to B's chiropractic appointment. I had deliberately parked it in the driveway last night so that he wouldn't be getting in the car in the garage. I thought we might have a battle. But he hopped in without blinking, and we've had a pretty terrific day so far.

Merciful grace.


  1. scary scary moments for sure. thank God he is okay, that Jesus was watching over him and keeping him safe. those moments where you realize WHAT DID I JUST DO. so awful. so glad your boy is such a happy and resilient little man. hugs from one mommy to another.

  2. I had a similar disaster happen when my middle son was a baby. It wasn't as dramatic or maybe not as dangerous as your story, but I felt so helpless and panicked. My husband was driving off with our oldest son and I made the mistake of trying to get his attention as he drove off. He didn't notice me and hit the garage door opener. I was locked out at night before the days of cell phones. I did call from my neighbors to try and get a hold of my husband, but it took a while. My middle son was sleeping in his crib inside for a short evening nap. I feared that he would wake up and where would I be? Thankfully, my son never woke up and I was eventually able to get back in with my husband's help.

    I suppose every mom has one of those epic fail moments, Hannah. Thanks for being so vulnerable and I hope you give yourself a little grace!