Saturday, November 04, 2006

Car Troubles

I'm sitting here at my computer as outside the wind and rain rages. Here on the coast of BC, we get rainstorms that can be nasty. The winds in some places almost reach hurricane strength, and the rain literally comes at you sideways. It's a perfect day to curl up by the fire with a cup of coffee and watch tv.

However, not every day lends itself to being able to just curl up and do nothing. There are bills to pay, appointments to keep, and most times we have to venture out into the raging wind and rain. Forget doing your hair, it will be completely windblown the second you open the door. Hang onto your car door, because as soon as you crack it open a gust of wind may catch it and wrench it loose from your hands. Someone parked next to us had that happen and the result was the door was slammed into our car, leaving a dent about 2 feet long the entire length of the passenger door.

One year, I decided that Kevin and I would get professional pictures taken as a gift for my husband. The weather was particularly bad that day, but we had managed to get to the studio unscathed and smiled brightly for our pictures. I happily packed up my baby, braved the wind and rain, and got him into his car seat.

However, little did I know that my keys had fallen out of my pocket. Not just that, but my child had pushed down the lock on the car door. I crawled out of the backseat and cursed the fact that we didn't have a four door car. Then the inevitable happened.

A gust of wind suddenly blew the car door shut. Baby. In car. WITH keys. Oh. my. god. No cell phone, either.

I stood there for a minute while the realization of what just happened swept over me. There he was, smiling away and waving his little hand at me as if to say, "Mom, you're a moron." Fortunately I was very close to a pay phone and could run and phone my husband to rescue us, while still keeping an eye on the car.

"How the hell did you do that?" John was laughing. I wasn't finding this funny. By now my perfectly coiffed hair is dripping, my mascara is running, and I'm as wet as if I've just jumped in a shower. The cold wind is biting and I'm shivering so hard that I can barely talk. Just get here fast, I pleaded. Then I ran back to the car, expecting a baby screaming with idignation.

Instead Kevin was sitting there absolutely content, laughing and smiling as I stood by the car and tried to make the best of the situation. People walking by looked at me with interest-why is this soaked woman standing beside the car and making faces at her child? Is she just a few cookies short of a dozen? I was so embarressed. I had felt like I'd failed as a mother. What idiot locks their child in the car? If I'm prone to doing such idiotic things like this, how am I ever going to handle the big stuff?

Suddenly a woman begins to approach me. Do I run? Will she curse me out and say I'm totally inadaquate and should never have been allowed to procreate? I braced myself for the onslaught of critisism I was expecting to spout from her mouth, but amazingly enough it never came. She looked in the car at Kevin happily amusing himself, back to me, and smiled warmly.

"I've done that too." she laughed softly. "Do you need a hand?"

I explained that my husband was on his way to rescue us.

"Don't worry about it" she continued, as if she had read my mind. "We all make mistakes." Just like that, she was gone again.

For years later, I always remembered that kind woman's words. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all support each other like that?
The journey of parenthood isn't prone to just the sunny, mild days, but the storms as well. It's easy to get lost in the fog and stuck in the mud along the way. Sometimes, we need to be rescued.

After all, we're all in this together.

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