It began normally, with children tugging me from sleep and a groggy/blurry walk to the kitchen to find breakfast for little people. Our only plan for the day was to stop by the doctor's office at 11am (to get drops for an eye infection) and then have lunch with a friend. Standing at the front door holding Katy, the diaper bag, my purse and the keys, I realize Katy is minus her paci. This will not do, so I drop everything and we begin an intense paci-hunt complete with a song Brynn and I made up recently entitled "Going on a Paci-Hunt." If you'd like to try it at home, you can sing it to the tune of "Going on a Bear Hunt," only you stomp. A couple of verses in, we locate the paci, and I gather my bundle once again and scoot Brynn out the door in front of me. As soon as I heard the door click closed, I knew what I had done. The keys did not make it back into my hands. Unwilling to accept the truth, I put everything down except Katy and smash my face into the front window, searching the living room. Yes. There they are. Sitting on the bookcase mocking me.
This is how our day took a turn at 10:15am. I start dialing Jim on his phone, but can't reach him. I leave a message on his boss' machine, knowing it will do no good as this phone is rarely answered or the machine checked. But I do it because I need to do something. In fact, I will do it again a few more times over the next several hours. I call my friend Julie to complain, and to see if anyone is home at her house since she only lives about half a mile away. She listens sympathetically to my complaints, but no one is at her house. So we wait. And I keep trying to reach Jim. He is a greensman at a golf course, so he is difficult to reach. You can't hear a phone or even feel one vibrate when you are operating machinery or riding a tractor, which is why he never called back. Oh, and because his phone was accidentally on silent instead of vibrate. (So glad I didnt know this at the time.)
We wait on the porch for three hours. That's not a typo, folks. THREE hours. Because I kept thinking he was going to call in the next few minutes. Also, I didn't have many options. All the friends I could think of who were available to come help did not have car seats. And those who were available who did have car seats would also have children in tow to occupy those carseats. And mine of course, were locked in the car.
Did I mention it was raining? It was raining. Just a light drizzle, and not the whole time, but still. If you have a 3-yr old and a 1-yr old you might be able to imagine what those three hours were like for me, on a porch, trying to keep them entertained. My little Katy tried to eat inappropriate items (grass, rocks, dirt) every time I set her down, so I held her and pretty much wrestled her like an alligator for much of this time. Brynn fared much better, playing in the yard when it wasn't raining and raiding the diaper bag for activities she could do on the porch.
At 1:15, I lose all hope of rescue and decide I must think like a single mom. A single mom would call a locksmith, no question, because she would have no choice. The thing is, we can't afford to spend $50-75 when we are not in danger and Jim will be home at 4:30. So I can't do that. But my kids are hungry and I know Brynn is going to start mentioning the potty any minute. My only plan: we walk to Fazoli's. It's a little less than a mile away, which is not bad except that it is still raining a little. I can't imagine what a sight I was... carrying Katy (20lbs) on one hip with my purse and diaper bag piled up on the other side. I almost gave up when it started raining harder and even turned us back toward the house, but Brynn said, "Mommy, we can do it. It's not raining that hard and we have our hoods up." And she was right. Though she may have changed her mind when we were almost there and she wimpered, "Mommy, my legs are getting so tired." She was a trooper.
At Fazoli's, we found a restroom and changing table and FOOD! I don't know when I have enjoyed ravioli and breadsticks so much, to be honest. We were ready for a rest in a place that wasn't cold or wet. My plan was to just stay there for a couple of hours until Jim got off work, but then I decided to call Julie back to see if anyone was getting to her house before Jim got off work. And the good news was, someone was on their way home at that moment. So we walked over there, and the girls were able to nap until Jim picked us up at 4:30. He was a little worried when he got home and couldn't find us even though the car was in the driveway. Felt really bad about the phone thing too... turns out he had 29 missed calls. Look at me, I'm a stalker.
It was one of the worst days I have had that didn't involve serious illness or death. I pretty much tried not to break down all day long, but at the end of it I could see a lot of blessings... answers to the prayers I was muttering all day long. 1. Brynn's positive attitude. She could really have made it a lot harder on the Mama, but she did great. 2. It could have been pouring. In fact, it did start pounding rain after we got to Julie's house. I do not know what we would have done if that had happned earlier. 3. My sweet husband felt so bad about the whole thing that he took us out for mexican that night. And in case you didn't know, mexican food makes everything better. 4. Someone arriving home at our friends' house. The only thing harder than entertaining two preschoolers at a fast food place for hours is doing so on a porch in the rain. Thankfully I didn't have to do the former.
Oh, I almost forgot. The moral of the story is: Keep a spare key in your diaper bag, Mom.