Early yesterday morning — after watching Independence Day fireworks from the tippy-top of a mountainous hill overlooking the surrounding cities (which also happens to be the epicenter of all mosquitos on Planet Earth) — Justin shot up in bed, as if he woke himself from an intense dream.
It was 1:30 a.m. and he just heard our front door open. Within seconds I was awake too, listening to the door shut.
That door was locked.
Before my brain could shift into place, he was already down the hall while I froze in bed, listening, ready to take action. (what kind of action?)
In what I can only imagine to be a slow-motion out-of-body experience, he peered down the steps and saw that the door was unlocked. (THAT DOOR WAS LOCKED.) He instinctively looked around the corner, into Noah's room, and his bed was empty.
HIS BED WAS EMPTY.
AT 1:30 A.M. AND THE DOOR JUST SHUT.
[and this is where I would've died 1,000 deaths, except I was in bed, perched, listening, ready.]
I heard voices and crying, so I ran down the hallway, down the steps, to find a little Noah outside in the dark, by the bushes, wearing only his underwear, sobbing.
My mother, who lives in the downstairs apartment, was outside with him — completely disoriented because the sound of a doorbell woke her from a dead sleep. And when she uneasily opened the door (because who the heck?), she found her 4-year-old grandson, wearing only his underwear, backing away into the dark grass. Crying.
They were trying to figure out what in the world was happening — Justin was still in a fog of primal rage, ready to pounce on anyone who dared come in his house and snatch his baby from his bed — but I knew it was a case of sleep walking. And so I scooped up my inconsolable boy (he wanted to "get away from here — I don't want you, or you, or you") and held his body until he fell back to sleep.
Only for him to wake up with no memory of the fiasco.
We spent the day retelling the story to one another, from each of our perspectives, trying to understand how he safely ran down the stairs (thank god), unlocked the door, and pulled it open — especially because we've seen him struggle to open that same door when it's unlocked and he's in his right mind. And don't get us started on the "what ifs" — the falling down a darkened staircase, the walking into the middle of the street, the little boy being locked out in the cold while we all slept. Because who hears a door softly creak open from 50 ft. away?
A primal papa bear.
Who spent the rest of the night sitting up in bed, half-sleeping and half-listening. Always listening.
Anyhoo, that was terrible. Let's get to the links — shall we?
First up, here are some uncomfortable yet important reads:
This is the best thing I've seen/heard/understood in a very long time.
This is for any woman raising a daughter. Scratch that: Any woman who has regular contact with a little girl.
And this. Oh, can we all collectively stop this from happening to the next batch of baby boys and girls? Because this article is both maddening and heart breaking.
Have you read this NYTimes piece yet? About how childbirth in America is the costliest in the world — and certainly not the highest quality? It's worth knowing about.
And here are some thought-provoking posts by fellow "early mamas" like you:
Three ways to get back on track when a negative emotion takes over.
5 ways to be a more patient parent.
Conflict avoidance in your marriage/relationship.
Have a wonderful weekend, you guys.
And P.S: We bought a chain lock, so we'll be sleeping easier.