The husband is leaving for the day. He generally locks the door behind him, but today, his hands are full.
“Can you get the door, Gin?”
“NO! I do it!” The 2 year old runs for the door, fumbles a little at first, but eventually gets the deadbolt to turn over.
Crap, I think. I’m going to have to watch her. What if she walks down here in the middle of the night and lets herself out? I wish she’d never figured that out.
I have to go grocery shopping. But the guy we hired to scrape the ice off our sidewalk has disappeared. He’ll be back; he left his shovels leaning against my gate, and I haven’t paid him yet. But for now, I don’t know where he is. And I’ve only got a small window to get this shopping done.
I come up with a plan: put the money in an envelope, and duct tape it (discreetly) to his shovel handle. I tell the 2 year-old that I’ll be back in a second, sprint down the walk in sock feet. It takes me longer than I expected to affix the envelope, and I’m wishing I’d stopped to put on a jacket, because it’s colder out here than I thought. I look up as a neighbor drives by, wave. And then I hear a loud bang behind me.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was cold. The 2 year-old has slammed the front door shut.
The front door that locks, automatically.
I have no keys, no phone, no jacket, no shoes. The only other stay-at-home mom on the block just drove away. And the 2 year-old is by herself.
Thoughts that have crossed my mind while I have been trying to explain to the 2-year old how to turn the deadbolt:
Owen would KILL me if I threw a rock through the 80-year old front window.
How long before this kid gets bored, and goes to play with her dolls?
Tomorrow, I’m hiding 20 copies of my house key around the neighborhood.
We’re gonna make the news FOR SURE, this time.
I’m finally beginning to understand that saying, “No, the GOLD one, honey. Turn the GOLD thing!” isn’t working. Probably because there are no less than 3 “gold things” on the door. And a note of panic creeps into her voice, as she finally realizes the gravity of the situation. She’s scared, and I’m scared for her.
And then it all becomes clear.
“Honey? Do you remember how you locked the back door this morning? Do you think you can UN-lock it?”
(Footsteps away from the door.)
I sprint around the house, get to the back. But she must have gotten confused, because she’s not there.
I bang on the door. “I coming, Mommy!”
I talk her through it, tell her to turn it. She’s fumbling.
And then the clunk of the deadbolt receding into the door.
Her little eyes are lit up, her mouth is in a surprised “OH!”. She smiles. And the smile dives into a sob. Her little face crumples, her shoulders slump.
I try to stop the tears, tell her she’s so brave.
But she doesn’t want to talk about it.
Owen gets home late. I tell her to tell Daddy about her “adventure” today.
“Oh,” she says, in a “Pshaw! Tweren’t nothing!” tone of voice, “I just open da door.”