19 November 2009

First panic

This is indeed a year of firsts. First tooth, first steps, first word, first moment of panic. Most will belong to him, the last one belonged to me today.

I knew it would happen - that moment when your heart stops and world stops spinning. I just figured it would happen later, when he is mobile and as quick as the wind. But it happened today, and it had nothing to do with anything he did. This, was all me.

Straightforward day - mail thank you card, drop of project at printer, drive to Oakland to deliver food for new mama, papa and baby, cuddle new baby, pick up baby gate, feed baby, feed me, come home. I had it all figured out - timed perfectly so the first nap could happen in the car on the way to Oakland and the second on the way back. Easy, perfect, no problem.

Left the house, drove six blocks to the post-office, doubled parked, left keys in ignition, got out of car, left driver side door open, went to get card out of bag in trunk, went back to close driver side door, closed driver side door, went back to open back - and its locked. Go back to driver side door, and its locked. They are all locked. And the ignition is on. And the baby is inside. And then in one millionth of a second, I was helpless and terrified.

All of a sudden, he was in there and I was out there and I had no idea what to do. My keys, my phone, my baby. I could have panicked. That would have been understandable. But he was fine, the motor went to battery power (because its a hybrid) and all I needed to do was call a locksmith. Luckily I wasn't the only one mailing things this morning, so I chatted up a nice looking lady, told her what I had done, and asked for her phone. Who do you call? Do you call 911? She had internet on her phone, we found a locksmith, gave him the address and he said 15 minutes. When we figured I was okay, she dr0ve away and took her cell phone with her.

And then, he started to cry. No he started to scream - and I there was nothing I could do. I could see the tears streaming down his face and these little red eyes looking at me longingly. I sang Itsy Bitsy Spider through the tinted glass and hoped that my hand gestures would make him think this was an intentional game. But I could feel the panic start in my gut. And what was probably only minutes felt like unbearably long hours.

I asked another guy if he would check the hardware store around the corner - he simply shrugged and said they weren't open yet. I knew I just needed to wait - help was on the way. So I stood with my hand on the glass, hoping the nugget knew I was right there.

It was that hand that must have alerted her, because she knew. A few moments later a gentle looking woman asked me if I was okay - when I told her what was happening, she said "I knew - I saw you. I saw you talking to the glass and I knew there was someone inside. I am mom too. I will get my husband - he'll help."

And what happened next is 8 minutes of my life that played in fast forward. It looked something like this:
"Oh there is a baby in there - oh my god."
He called AAA.
His wife sang songs to the nugget.
I asked her name, she said Alejandra.
I said, me too.
She said it would be okay.
AAA arrived.
In 2 seconds the door was open.
I took nugget out and just held in my arms.
In 2 seconds he was fine.
AAA left - the husband had settled it all.
He won't let me pay.
He hugged me and said get AAA.
She hugged me and said Happy Thanksgiving.
I put nugget back in the car.
I got back int the car.
And I wept, uncontrollably.

1 comment:

  1. My friend Serena did this exact thing-well, her child was playing with the car keys and locked himself in. I had to talk her out of breaking the window with a brick. :) AAA is definitely the way to go. I'm glad everything turned out ok!