Last time I stayed at my parents house with the boys, it was one of the worst nights sleep I'd ever had. The three of us shared a full bed so I spent part of the night getting kicked in the face and the rest of the night camped out on the couch thinking about all the things that had gone down in this house.
We had gotten up so early for our flight this trip that I had a feeling sleep wouldn't be an issue for any of us. I was right. We got in our little bed at 7pm and slept like rocks.
Until the doorbell rang at midnight.
I'm not typically a very light sleeper but this woke me up like a shot of adrenalin. The front door is right next to our slightly open bedroom window so if someone was on the front porch they were less than five feet from where Liam, Finn and I were sprawled out like a litter of puppies.
I was scared. Who would be at our door in the middle of the night? And why hadn't anyone else heard the doorbell? The house was silent except for Finn's breathing and my pounding heart.
Suddenly I heard the door to the garage open. Crap! I wasn't going crazy, there really was someone there. I crept to the window and slowly pulled back the shade.
There she was. My mom. Standing in the garage in her baby blue snowflake pajamas just kind of looking around. I had never even considered for a second it could have been her wandering around the front yard. Now I was more scared than ever.
I snuck out of our room and halfhearted whispered for my dad as I scurried to the front door. I knew he'd be upset that she was up and really upset that he hadn't heard her leave the house (this had to be a first...). I'd so much rather just handle it myself.
By the time I got to the garage she was sitting in the front seat of my dad's Jeep. When she saw me her face lit up. "There you are!" she said smiling and then kind of shrugged her shoulders like, your guess is as good as mine...
I asked her if she wanted me to get in. "Do you want to go somewhere?"
She smiled and shrugged and nodded. "Can you do that?"
I knew I should try to get her back in the house or, at the very least, let my dad know we were okay. But she was talking to me. Smiling at me. Of course we could!
I got in the driver's seat and we sat there for a few minutes, talking but mostly not talking. I was pretty sure my dad was going to walk in and bust us any second, a feeling I'm quite used to at this house. "Hey, Mom. Do you think we should go home?"
She followed me out of the garage but instead of heading toward the front door, she walked down the walkway, away from the house. What could I do but go with her?
It was a beautiful night - crisp and clear, not too cold, with a half moon and a dozen or so stars lighting our way. So we went for a walk. Me, barefoot and bleary eyed; her in the snowflake pajamas my sister gave her that match her big, blue eyes.
She fussed with the neighbor's mailbox, changed directions a few times, shrugged her shoulders every time we made eye contact. But it was nice. Peaceful. I would have walked all night but I was afraid my dad would wake up and not know where we were. So I steered her back to the house.
I never even considered we might be locked out. No wonder she rang the bell!
Years of being a latchkey kid had taught me some tricks but the key I found didn't fit the door and I knew my mom wouldn't wait for me while I jumped the fence to the backyard. She was obviously somewhat of a flight risk.
So I did the only thing else I could think to do - what she did - I rang the bell.
We waited. My stomach churned. What if he didn't hear us? What if he did? Please don't be mad, please don't be mad...
He handled it well and for all I know she stayed in bed the rest of the night. I fell back to sleep eventually too, once the adrenalin died down and I finished writing half of this (it would have seemed like a dream if I didn't get it down in print).
I'm curious to see what he has to say about all this in the morning. Has it happened before? What are we going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again?
And of course, my biggest question, how is he doing this day after day after day all on his own?