Not long ago, I had to run by work to pick up my laptop. It was a day off for the kids, so they were with me. We pulled into the lot, and I parked the car with strict instructions NOT to get out of the car, that I would be right back, and DON’T MOVE A MUSCLE. Mommy is expecting you to behave for 5 minutes while she sneaks in (in her holey jeans and messy hair – a workplace no-no) to get this one little thing.
Of course, my coworker is there, so I'm kinda busted, but she doesn't really care and I close the door so no one else can see the hot mess that is me today. As I download the necessary files, a car alarm goes off. My car alarm. The car is locked, so they are stuck inside and somehow have managed to set off the alarm, but cannot get out. They are screaming and jumping around in the car, banging on the windows because they are trapped (it never occurs to them they can unlock the car) while the horn blares and the car is rocking back and forth and people are staring. I am looking, in horror, out the window, too frozen with "whattheheck" to move. I can hear them from INSIDE the building. And THEY are INSIDE the car! I run outside and start pushing buttons on the key fob – one of which is the unlock button – and they pour out of the car screaming at each other and at me, trying to blame the nonsense on one another and then on me. Somehow it is my fault they set the alarm off because I left them in the car. Little Meems is so upset she literally starts to melt down in the parking lot, head thrown back sobbing uncontrollably while she screams that it’s not her fault and W did THIS and T did THAT and then the horn went OFF and we were TRAPPED and WHERE WERE YOU and we were so SCARED we thought you were never coming BACK.
I was gone for 30 seconds. They were right outside my office window. I had waved to them from that window, to show them right where I was and to indicate it would only be a minute.
This kind of madness is precisely why I left them in the car.
She was doing the ugly cry. And now the maintenance staff has come outside to see what’s going on and what
old lady hapless person is in need of assistance. Then the general manager comes running outside and...well, he's my boss. Jeans and holes and messy hair are extremely frowned upon here, as are screaming children and noisy scenes in general.
I am busted. And everyone’s still freaking out. Now T has lost it, blubbering something unintelligible, and W is still trying to maintain his innocence by simultaneously crying and shouting that he didn't do anything and that Meems is the meanest sister in the world, and I STILL cannot figure out how to turn the darned thing off. I am doing that quiet yell thing...you know when you're quietly speaking to your children but you're doing it with your teeth clenched and your neck veins popping out?
I finally turn off the car. Meems runs over and drapes herself over my legs. W and T just have stunned looks on their faces. The crowd of people now in the parking lot pick their jaws up off the ground and whisper to each other, shaking their heads as they head off. I am left standing there, panting as though I had run a marathon. I have a cramp in my side. Sweat is streaming down my face and I can feel the steam coming off my head. My coworker starts giggling and my boss just looks at me for a long time and starts laughing. He tells me he just loves my kids and heads back inside, hooting hysterically.
I peel Meems off my legs, hug the boys and load everyone back into the car, leaving without my laptop. Must. escape. with. remaining. dignity. intact.
Considering it's in low supply, I'm going to need all I can get. Welcome to motherhood!