Once upon a time……
My mom had to have surgery in South Carolina. Her specialist was there and he was top notch. So we all took a beach trip to one of the barrier islands off the coast of South Carolina. This time we stayed in a condo with several family members. I had two children under the age of three at the time and therefore I stayed at the condo while the procedure and the aftercare went on. I offered to do laundry for everyone. I spent a rainy beach day in the laundromat area with two kids. I had two loads left and it had stopped raining so I decided to take them upstairs to dry on the rails of our balconies.
Lennon was three. His favorite thing was to push buttons. He’s thirteen and it still may be his favorite thing. If you’ve ever seen that “Dennis the Menace” movie where Dennis pushes the garage button and with a single finger destroys an entire dinner party…yeah, that’s my son.
My arms were full as we stepped on the elevator. One arm was holding Drew….in her pjs….curly hair all over her tiny head. The other arm was cradling a very large heavy load of wet laundry. Lennon stood just under that load of laundry and therefore was out of sight to me. Of coarse Lennon pushed every single button on the elevator. Our floor was five and we began the process of stopping at each floor. The load of laundry got heavier each second. Then Lennon decided his floor was the third floor and stepped out of the elevator. I saw him walking off just in time for the elevator doors to shut.
The panic I felt was insane. I could hear him screaming as the elevator pulled away. I dropped the laundry on the elevator floor. I was yelling, “Stay there. I’m coming”. But all I could think was, what if. What if a stranger comes? Will he know my real name? Will he know to call me more than momma? The elevator door opened at four and I ran out to find the steps the whole while saying, “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.” (Which isn’t in vain bc at this point it was a prayer). Drew was repeating in her two year old voice, “Oh my Gob. Oh my Gob. Oh my Gob.” In reality she was totally unaffected as she always is by any one else’s panic. If she’s relatively clean and comfortable she’s a ok. I sprinted from the stair well and saw him pounding on the elevator door with his tiny fists. He sunk to the floor sobbing. I ran to him and scooped him up and we sat there in front of the elevator doors clutching each other and crying. With me saying, “Oh thank God. Oh thank God. Don’t you ever do that again. You scared me to death” and him saying, “I’M SORRY. I DIDN’T KNOW.”
The doors opened to find an elevator full of strangers staring at our wet laundry, now dirty again, and then staring at us with eyes wide. I just picked both kids up and got inside the elevator with them. The silence riding to floor number five was unreal. Lennon and I were both red eyed and snotty nosed and then I scooped up my laundry and we walked off.
That’s been about ten years ago. I still wonder what those people all thought….