Sunday evening as we sat down to dinner, my daughter-in-law (dil) called sobbing; the dogs got out. She and my son (currently working on an oil rig-no lie, there’s still at least one working) have three furry children. One of them, Layla, is a rescue and extremely obedient. The other two came to them as puppies, are best friends, and trouble makers.

Woody, a two-year-old beagle, and Bo, an eight-month-old GIANT lab, made a break for it when she was taking them out for a walk. Bo was collarless for reasons I still don’t understand, but Woody was sporting his collar. Dil saw them take off down a busy street, Bo’s mouth pulled into a giant grin, ears whipping in the wind. She gave chase, but four legs – actually eight, I guess – are faster than two. She ran back to the house, grabbed her phone and frantically hit dial. We dropped everything and headed over. By we, I mean my husband, daughter, son-in-law (sil), and my seven-month-old granddaughter. Daughter and sil took their truck and hubs and I took the baby in my car. We spread out, searching all the neighborhoods near their home.

It was getting dark and hubs decided we should check to see if maybe the rascals ran home. We pulled into the driveway, he got out of the car to check the backyard, and I got out of the car to check the front yard-the card was still running because we were planning on getting right back in. That’s when the week really went awry. We both closed our doors. And they locked. And the baby was in the car. It was like sloooow mooooootion…first the desperate pulling of the door handle, next the running to all doors and desperately pulling the handles, finally the realization that we locked the baby in the car. We managed to raise two children to adulthood and never one locked them in a car! How could this happen??

Hubs screamed (although he claims he did not, he did) , “Why did you lock the doors????!”

“I didn’t!” I yelled back, “I just got out and closed my door! They locked by themselves!”

“Who’s going to call daughter and explain that her mom locked her baby in the car??” he demanded.

Well, there was no need to worry about that call because daughter and sil rolled up at that moment to check to see if the dogs returned and why I wasn’t answering my phone…it was in the locked car. Hubs quickly explained what happened, described exactly where the spare key to the car was hidden in the house (allegedly from me who would “lose” it) and daughter and sil jumped back in their truck and headed home to retrieve it. I couldn’t understand why I was the only one panicking. Yes, it was cool outside, yes the car was running with the ac on, and yes, she was asleep, but still. SHE WAS LOCKED IN THE CAR!

Just after they left to retrieve the key, dil rolled up in her car; the dogs were not with her. She was still sobbing when son called from the rig anxious about the whereabouts of the dogs and then horrified to learn they were still lost AND we locked his niece in our car. My mom beeped in to check on whether we found the dogs only to hear that the dogs were still missing and great-granddaughter was now locked in the car. Shortly after that conversation we heard the sirens of emergency vehicles. Had the neighbors heard the commotion and called 911? We all stood like statues and waited to hear if the sirens turned in or passed us by. They passed us by.

Fortunately we live ten minutes from my son and dil, so it didn’t take long for daughter to return with the key. About the time they returned with the key and popped open the doors, dil’s phone rang. THE DOGS WERE FOUND! They had run a good five miles and a kind stranger coaxed them into their yard with some crackers. She set off to retrieve them and we headed home.

Later that evening, daughter and I were talking about all that transpired. I was feeling a lot of guilt about LOCKING MY GRAND IN THE CAR. She said she wasn’t worried. It wasn’t hot, the ac was on in the car, and baby was asleep. It was through this grandparenting fail that I learned how much trust our daughter has in us. She knew, she said, that if it was hot or the ac wasn’t on, her dad would have busted out a window to get to our nugget and she was right.

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4 thoughts on “Grandparenting Fail

  1. It was probably 15 years ago, our youngest daughter was with my wife in the mini-van. My wife got out of the van, in front of our house, under the shade trees to get something and my youngest (a precursor to what she’d be like later in life) gets up out of her seat, climbs into the driver’s side seat, and like Mommy and Daddy do, locked the door, keys in the ignition. Glup!! We point at automatic door locks, act like we are pushing on it. She looks at the lock, at us, and waves. *insert profanity here* Thankfully, we had three volunteer firefighters within two blocks, so the door was quickly opened, but we’ve all had those experiences of some kind! All I can say is, the baby was all right, the dogs were found, and no car repairs had to be made! Not that much of a fail! 🙂

  2. Wow! That’s some slice of life I hope to never live! You had me panting to get to the end to know that everything turned out happily ever after. Still shaking my head over the events.

  3. Goodness! I could feel the panic just reading about this event. Thanks for this Grandparent Tip- Check the car doors before closing. So glad you had a happy ending.

  4. Your voice came through loud and clear as your retold the anxiety-producing events. I laughed when I saw that you call your daughter-in-law “Dil”. That’s what my in-laws called me in jest when we first married. I also loved the part there Hub, accused you of locking the car and had to hide the key from you. Does he know my husband? I love happy endings and I’m so glad this had one.

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