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.

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A Letter To The Teacher


Dear Lovely Blond Preschool Teacher,

First, I apologize for not knowing your name.  In the 10 months we’ve lived in Poland, I feel my ear for the language has gotten better and names are easier to pick up.  Sadly, my attention to detail has not improved, and that one time you said your name I was thinking of shiny stuff.  I wanted to write this letter to thank you and the other teacher who has the best smile but has never been introduced to me for teaching my twins.

Ready for school! Just as soon as Mom convinces us to put down our lovies.

I also wanted to explain why we have never made it to school on time.  The reasons are both run-of-the-mill and truly ridiculous, but I promise, all this and more really happened.

*  Twin B needed a tag removed from his shirt.  Tag could not be found and therefore not eradicated to his satisfaction.  Changing of shirt was required.

*  Time stopped when I asked them to walk downstairs quickly-but only in our building. The rest of the world sped right along ahead of us.

*  On their birthday I had a blood test at 8am followed by a trip to the bakery to pick up the non-sugary muffins to bring to share.  Who knew they would need no less than 18 vials of my blood or that the muffins would not be ready?

*  It was very sweet of you to text me on Thursday that the boys both needed teddy bears for Teddy Bear day on Friday.  We actually didn’t have any on hand as we left a lot behind in the move, so we needed to buy them.  I’m not sure what happened, but it turns out we had to buy them on Friday before school.  It’s possible I got distracted by Twitter.

*  My husband is a bit of a pansy when it comes to being sick.  We have to drive him to work when he gets ‘a scratchy throat’ so he doesn’t walk and get more sniffles.  He is in no hurry.  He doesn’t care that we are.

*  I let them make their own samiches…not a time-saver but the video was a huge FB hit.

*  Boys were picking a toy for Friday Toy Day.  Then repicking a toy that doesn’t have 100 pieces.  Then rerepicking a toy that brother didn’t say you HAD to take so he would have 2 of his favorites, and you’d have none.

Again, I apologize for being late EVERY day.  I’m not doing it on purpose.  This is me trying my hardest.  Don’t worry, the boys’ father is very responsible, so they should turn out just fine.