The scene I am about to share with you is so ridiculous it needs its own blog post. I have no other purpose for writing it other than to make YOU feel like a better parent. Because really, who locks their baby in the car?!?!
The day was gorgeous. It was the kind of summer day that keeps Minnesotans sane in the winter. You know the kind — it’s where you forget about life and play hookie and drift off into a Summer Shandy. Those days are NOT to be wasted, and I knew just where to go for mine.
If you haven’t been to “the Lakes” yet you are missing a slice of heaven. There’s a little spot near the Tin Fish restaurant that has a park AND a beach and it’s pure magic.
On this particular day, my girls and I decided to picnic by the water, meet new friends, chase the ducks, and get sand in all the wrong places. We were livin’ the dream. We left feeling refreshed, happy, and oh SO excited to tell daddy about our adventures later. Only “later” turned out to be five minutes later. Strange how that happens right?
ALWAYS be aware of when things are going too well. That’s your cue to dial it down a notch so the Law of Human Physics stays on your side.
So when we got back to the rental car (yep, that part is key — this never would’ve happened in MY car, obviously), I swiftly put my 20-month old in her carseat and nonchalantly throw my keys on the driver’s seat … like I always do … because come on people, YOGA PANTS DON’T HAVE POCKETS!! I then shut the door – like I always do – but this time, the doors locked. Automatically.
Did that just happen? I thought to myself.
Shuffling over to the driver’s side I discovered what I already knew to be true … and my stomach ate itself.
“NOOOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?” I hit the car door in retaliation.
“What’s wrong, mama??” my middle daughter panted at my leg.
“I locked your baby sister in the car.” Her mouth stilled like a mail slit.
“It’s okay,” I lied. “It’s not that hot out (lie again). I can fix this (lie #3). I will call the rental company.” … who turned out to be completely unhelpful.
So I called my husband, who also turned out to be unhelpful. (Love him to death, but comfort in “Jonna-crisis” is not his strength. He spends most of his time trying to figure out how I got IN my mess instead of trying to figure out how to get me OUT. “How did that happen?” has never been helpful after I’ve gone and done the incredulous, like dropping my keys in a 20 foot latrine — do you sense a theme here?!? Pray for me.)
I therefore gobbled up my husband’s questions like Ms Pac Man and did what any mature 37-year old would do. I called my dad.
“Dad,” I whimpered. “I locked my baby in the car … and it’s hot out … and she’s scratching her eczema and her skin is bleeding everywhere and I don’t know what to do!!”
“Don’t worry, Jonna. I’ve got Triple AAA.” And just like that, my dad saved the day.
Only he hadn’t, because apparently a locked-in-car-baby isn’t covered by their protection. “That’s for the cops,” they said.
“MY BABY IS TRAPPED IN THE CAR AND MY KEYS ARE INSIDE AND I NEED YOU TO COME HERE NOW!! … Please.”
“Where are you ma’am?”
“32nd Street Beach at Lake Calhoun.”
“We’ll be there soon.”
Sweet relief!!! “We’re gonna get your baby sister out!” I shouted. “Let’s all sing to her to make her feel better, okay?!”
Out came Baby Beluga, Wheels on the Bus, and Twinkle Twinkle like angels’ chords. We had leg kicks, arm shakes, jazz hands — the works!
None of the stares would’ve even bothered me had our song-and-dance numbers worked, but they didn’t. My baby knew she was trapped, so she just kept anxiously peeling layer after layer off her eczema-riddled skin.
Help me!!! my insides wailed.
And FINALLY, help did arrive. Only they didn’t send over a squad car; they sent us a BLAZING RED FIRE TRUCK, complete with flashing lights and all.
(This is when you laugh people. Because you really can’t make this stuff up.)
Three giant fire fighters exited their steed and approached me. They took one look at my car and said, “We’re not gonna get her outta there without breaking a window.”
“What?!?!? No!!!” I cried. “You can’t do that, it’s a rental!!!”
“Well, then I suggest you call a locksmith.”
Tears of defeat strolled down my face. I knew the locksmith would take another hour to arrive, and by that time I feared my baby’s skin would be scratched clean to the bone. So again, I called my dad.
“Take a deep breath, Jonna. Everything’s going to be fine. I’m praying for you.”
That’s Right! PRAY!
I dropped my phone on the grass.
“Girls. Start praying!!” So we did. We got down on our knees and prayed for those muscley fire fighters to open up our car doors.
And you know what? They DID!! … with a hanger!!
“Ahhhhhh!!” I screamed. “Praise God!” I ran around hugging each one of them (for way too long) and wiped grateful tears on their sleeves. “Thank you thank you!” (SOB) “You’re an angel!” (SOB SOB)
“No problem, ma’am. You have yourself a good day.” And off they went with a tip of their hats.
And that was that.
Upon later reflection, I have collected a few nuggets of wisdom to share with you:
Don’t wear yoga pants. Moms need pockets. The end.
Shame looks better on the dance floor. We all make mistakes, so stop “should-ing” on yourself and give yourself grace when you do the unthinkable, (like locking your baby in the car on a hot summer day. For REAL!)
God loves you. He sees your pain. He knows your struggle, and he wants you to ask him for help!
Prayer works! Sure it might not happen right away, but the power of prayer is our greatest weapon so remember to use it.
Dads are awesome. Remember to tell yours that often. THANK YOU Greg Colvin for being my father. You are, and always will be, my superhero (especially when vehicle catastrophes strike!).
So now go and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that we are ALL good parents (even myself) and that mistakes happen to the best of us. Use your humility as your best teaching tool. Let your kids know when you’ve made a mistake, BUT more importantly, show them what VICTORY looks like by picking yourself back up again and keep keepin’ on.
And most of all, remember that we are ALL in this together, so let’s show a mama love when she needs it. Go stand with her on the curb and sing the ABCs when her kid is trapped in the car…OR tell her that your kids too have temper tantrums in Target. A little love goes a LONG way, and I promise you, it will help us ALL make it to the other side of that locked door in one piece.