Friday, March 29, 2013

Door ajar

I woke up this morning gripping my sheets, with chills running down my spine, and adrenaline coursing through my veins. The sound I heard was one I often hear in my nightmares—a door being forced open. Alert as possible, but still very groggy, I elbowed Andrew.

"Someone opened the door!" I hissed at him.

"What?" he moaned.

"Someone just opened the door!" I whispered in a panic.

"What?!" he whispered back, panic rising in his voice.

"The door is open," I explained, keeping my voice low.

Andrew sat up in bed and looked at the front door. Having the advantage of 20/20 vision he wasn't busy frantically feeling around for his glasses and could check. We can see our front door from our room.

"It's not open. Go back to sleep."

"The back door, then!" I insisted. "I heard a door open!"

The sounds I hear in the middle of the night are not to be trifled with—because once I heard an attempted murder (just a domestic dispute...involving a butcher big deal)—and ever since then when I say I hear sounds in the middle of the night my husband believes me and feels obligated to check things out. He's nice like that.

So, sighing a little, he got out of bed to investigate the backdoor. I tiptoed behind him.

When I saw a sliver of sunshine spilling across the kitchen floor, I froze and quickly scanned the room for a weapon. The nearest thing to me was a nice, cushy yoga mat, all rolled up and ready to go. I picked that up and wielded it like a baseball bat, ready to lash out at any intruder (never mind the cast-iron fire poke that was just a few feet further away (a yoga mat makes a much better weapon—obviously)).

Andrew glanced around the house, confused that no one seemed to be inside. Figuring the perp must still be outside, he turned the lock on the bottom handle and prepared to slam the door, shutting the villain out of our lives for good.

That's when he saw...

...Our sweet, little Rachel, skipping around on the back deck.

"Oh, Rachel!" he sighed in relief. And then, "I have to sit down!"

We both did. The phrase 'be still my beating heart' has never meant so much to me.

"What?" Rachel asked, her zestful spirits drooping as she took in our ashen, perspiration-dotted faces and our shallow, rapid breathing.

"You scared us half to death!" we lamented.

"I just wanted to check if it was morning!" she said innocently, because, of course, she had been innocent the whole time.

Our children are not exactly early risers. They don't usually get up before us, but when they do happen to get up early they usually come into our room to: a) announce they've thrown up, b) announce they've wet the bed, c) crawl in bed with us to snuggle, or d) beg us to get out of bed and take care of them.

This morning Rachel, who we ordinarily have to drag out of bed, had good cause to wake up before us wondering if it's morning yet because we might've overslept by an hour (because we'd been up late discussing our weekend plans and so Andrew's subconscious assumed it must be the weekend and so the alarm didn't get set for a school day). What's interesting is why she chose the method of "checking" on the morning that she did. (There is a clock in her room and also a window but apparently the only sure-fire way to know if it's morning is to throw open the back door and step out into the glorious morning sunshine to twirl around in your nightgown while your bare feet get wet with dew and your ears are filled with the music of the early-bird's chirping. That's the only way to know that it's morning. There is no other way. Choose another way and you might be mistaken or misled somehow. Never trust a clock or a window.)

We told Rachel she'd be a car-rider this morning since, by this time, she'd missed the bus. She happily made oatmeal for herself and then made oatmeal for Miriam as well. She got herself dressed and put a snack in her backpack (which a kid in her class stole out of her cubby (but don't worry because that kid got "put on yellow eagle"—sure showed them!)) and got all ready to go, save for her hair (which I did for her).

I'm not sure our days of morning snuggles with Rachel are completely over because she climbed into bed with us just a couple of days ago, but they sure are fading fast! While I don't think I'll miss the announcements of bed-wetting or throwing up, or the pleas to pour the milk, I will miss the snuggles. I can't believe she's growing out of that. I can't believe that instead of wanting to see me* first thing in the morning she instead throws the door open to face the world head-on!

I also can't believe that our awkward, uncoordinated action plan involved a rolled-up yoga mat and closing/locking the door that had evidently already been successfully breached.

Bad guys, beware: we're not too big, and we're not too tough, but when we work together we've got the right stuff!**

* I'm not vain; I'm just mommy.
** Thanks, WonderPets for always, always being stuck in my head. Always.


  1. I'm so sorry to read that you have nightmares :(, but I love this story especially the bit about the yoga mat as your weapon :). And I think it's cute that Rachel checked to see if it's morning by going outside! :)

    Happy Good Friday!

  2. I loved this post for so many reasons! And it made me a bit sad to think that we live in a world where parents have legitimate reasons to worry if their sweet five-year old skips outside to greet the morning. For me, on the farm in the middle of nowhere, I would get up when it was barely morning and my dad was already out on the tractor somewhere, and my mom was already out in the garden, and I could skip outside and not have to tell a soul, and there was no cause for worry.

    It is sad to have our kids grow up. For example, you. I love the grown-up you very much, but I still miss baby Nancy and toddler Nancy so much!

  3. I would have freaked out as well! Crazy!