The Garage of Suffering

Did I ever tell you about the time I locked my kids in the car in the garage in the dark?

Picture it, Sicily….1927….(Golden Girls reference….What’s up 1987?)

No wait, it was Poland.  Last year.  It was Good Friday, and we were running late on our way to school.  Obviously.  When we got there, I rang the bell and waited for the buzzer to unlock the entry gate.  I didn’t see any kids in the window.  It was a fairly pretty day, chilly but sunny, but I did not hear anyone playing in the garden.  The boys looked for rocks as I grew tense.  I rang the bell again.  And again.

The boys said, “Mommy, maybe no one is here.”

“No, they have to be here.  It’s Friday.  You go to school on Fridays.”  And I have things to do, like not be in charge of you for just a little bit.

They weren’t there.

So, I decided to make the best of it because I am a great mom and was not at all sad to spend a pretty day with my sons instead of going to the mall.  I asked the boys if they wanted to go to the beach. They did! Huzzah!

First we had to go home and retrieve the gear.  The boys were still in diapers, and I was still a beach rookie, so I needed to gather a ton of it.  I had a brilliant idea to save time though; I would run upstairs and get the beach stuff and diapers and sunscreen and hats and maybe a blanket and some money oh! and some water.

The boys were keen on my plan and happily stayed in the car while I ran upstairs to complete my mission.  It was going to be just a minute.  And it was.  In ADD time.  So, maybe it was really like 10 minutes.  As I trotted back down the stairs I heard a noise.  Crying?  Weird, no other families with small kids live here.  The boys were fine when I left.

As I went further down the stairs, it became obvious that the sound was indeed crying.  And it was for real.  Someone was very sad and/or scared.  Oh shit!  It’s the boys.

As I got into the garage, the lights came on.  You know, the lights that are on a timer and only come on with motion?  Which the boys would not be making inside the car.  The car that had no lights on inside.  So, two sweet boys awaiting a lovely day at the beach with their benevolent mommy were sitting in the pitch black strapped into their car seats for an unknown amount of Stephanie time.

I cannot overstate the real and utter desperation and sadness on their faces.  They were terrified.  Tears were streaming down their red faces.  I felt worse than I did when I got annoyed that they didn’t have school that day.  That’s pretty bad.  I cried too actually.

Y’all, that lemon ice cream is good. Take-away-the-terror-of-the-dark good.

In the end, ice cream was eaten and broken hearts were mended. The playground at the beach was a land of yes.  Dangerous climbing structures for everyone!

And, no, they will never again agree to wait for me in the car in the garage.

Tune in next time to “Did I Ever Tell You?”, when I tell you about a mix-up at the swimsuit store.


9 thoughts on “The Garage of Suffering

  1. Oh sweets. This is so relateable.
    Yesterday I forgot to get my tokens to park at my doctor’s office and left Chunky in the car. When I came out he was bawling his eyes out. I felt like the worst parent in the universe.
    Huge hugs.

  2. I would have very likely done the exact same thing and reacted in the exact same way. Luckily ice cream was had and I’m sure everything was forgotten (for them!)

  3. I can so relate. One time I had severe bathroom issues after eating Taco Bell, had to make an emergency stop at a girlfriend’s house (now that is a TRUE friend) and left my toddler in the car. Yeppers, there was no time to unstrap him from his carseat. That boy was in total tears by the time I came back outside. He had no idea that I would have been in tears if I had waited about 30 more seconds before I found a toilet!!!!!

  4. Oh dear! That’s the kind of thing when I do it that I worry it will be ingrained as my child’s earliest memory. The one when people say, “What is the furtherst back you can remember from your childhood?” and despite all the beautiful outings and lovely moments I’ve tried to craft, all that will come to mind is some point of abject terror because I slipped up momentarily. Guh.

    That lemon ice cream looks awesome.

  5. Here’s my version…. My twins were several months old and we (me & babies) were at the airport picking up my in-laws for their first visit to see the boys. I hop out in the loading zone to help with bags, etc, close the door and hear the familiar click of the doors locking. With keys inside. And babies. Buses honking, airport security demanding I move, father-in-law and I are under car searching for the hidden spare key. Eventually the airport security officer is called and uses the old ‘hanger jammed down window to pull lock’ trick. 30 minutes later we got in and one baby had cried himself to sleep, the other was still hysterical. What a great new mom.

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