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The fragility of life is well, terrifying sometimes. On Saturday morning, all the kids (plus a neighbor) were playing inside – a chaotic, spirited medley of flying balls, running children and loud renditions of “Let It Go.”  At one point, while Rick and I were trying to pack up stuff for an outing to a wing fest because what’s better than spicy wings and loud music on a 87 degree day, our 11 year old neighbor said…

“Why is the front door open?”

cash door


Agonizing moments followed as we realized that our nearly 2 year old son had opened the front door and just walked out.

My son Cash was born with the same passion as the early settlers who pushed forth into the western frontier. He knows no fear. He doesn’t look back. If he could speak full sentences, he would say, “Thanks for raising me. You guys have been great. I’m heading off on my own now.”

Rick and I ran outside, desperately searching in every direction.

“I see him!” Rick shouted as he sprinted down the street, his phone clattering to the ground. A treasured iPhone 6 that had suddenly become completely trivial.

Cash had crossed the street and wandered about five houses down. He was just standing there in someone’s driveway. Rick picked him up and I burst into tears.

And that’s when a car came speeding around the corner and since I was already standing in the street, I didn’t move. The car slowly came to a halt in front of me.

I went over to the driver side window and saw two teenage boys. Boys who wanted to floor the engine, listen to their music and probably not talk to me.

I still remember what it was like to be them. A teenager with nowhere to really be but a determination to get there as quickly as possible.

“Guys, you gotta slow down. There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood.”

“We weren’t speeding!” they insisted.

I didn’t get into an argument. “Just keep a lookout. Children run into the road all the time. And thank you for not running me over.”

They pulled away and I only imagine they said to each other, “That hot mom is so right. We need to slow down.”

Just thinking about my nearly 2 year old son crossing that street just minutes before those boys careened around the corner, makes me nauseous. Just thinking that almost every house has a pool in the backyard makes my breath practically stop.

The sliding doors of fate.

It once again reminded me that parenthood has absolutely no balance. You either are trying to hold on tightly or trying to desperately let go. Trying to keep the door locked and your kid from getting out or open up it up and let him or her free.

It’s amazing to me that in 8 years, my oldest daughter will walk out that door. I’ll have to let her go into this beautiful, broken world. And of course she will come back for many visits but I won’t every night be able to check on five children, watch five chests breathe in and out and kiss five soft cheeks.

Now that we know Cash can open the front door, we have a new rule. It must always be locked. We must hold on tightly to keep him safe.

And yes, one by one my children will grow up and I will have to let each of them go. But not today. Not tonight.  Tonight I will check on five children and I will kiss five soft cheeks.

Cash sleeping

21 Responses to the open door

  • Oh mama, I so feel your emotional angst with that experience! I had a similar thing happen when my oldest was two years old and now he’s off in his first year of college (and I’m waiting up for a check in phone call!) …. Four small cheeks at home to still kiss at night … But it goes by so fast. Wishing you are all well (and staying sun safe 😉 … Xoxo

  • Amanda says:

    It is so scary. I feel your gut-wrench. I had a similar experience when willa was 2. It just took a split second for her to walk out the door and cross the street. Thankfully some neighbors were outside and held onto her until i ran out frantically crying. Something you never forget.

  • daphne says:

    Terrifying. So much of it all is terrifying. Love his spirit, but glad you’ve got him locked down at home. Can you duct tape him in the bed??

  • Meredith says:

    My 3.5 year old daughter has been a “runner” since she was about your son’s age. He also sleeps exactly like she does; that’s her favorite position!

  • Bitsy says:

    Oh I really feel your pain. My kids were escape artists too. And now they’re leaving me for good and locking them in seems like just yesterday and I wish I could still lock them in.

  • Alex says:

    those moments of panic are life-altering, no? i thought i’d lost noa at a busy NYC playground once. it was a beautiful day and there were a thousand kids out. i looked and looked and couldn’t find her. i must have circled that playground three times. it would have been so easy for her to escape through a gate left ajar or for someone to take advantage of the chaos and swoop her up. my heart was beating out of my chest, i was breathing funny, i started shaking and i was on the verge of screaming for help when she casually emerged from a hiding spot. my legs nearly collapsed out from under me with relief. in that split second i realized how fragile it all is and it scared the shit out of me.

  • Erin says:

    I thought I lost Katherine once in a store (she was hiding in a rack) and my heart still hasn’t recovered. A nano second before I bloody murder screamed “amber alert” out she came. So thankful your ending was a happy one as well. Parenting is terrifying! xoxo

  • Mary Clare says:

    Whew! Glad he’s OK. I love the toddler sleeping on the knees cuteness! Kiss those chubby cheeks one more time.

  • Ree Bhakeram says:

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I am glad that Cash is safe. I too have a daughter who is 9 years old and it hurts my heart to think that in another 9 years I will have to trust this world with her.

  • Renee says:

    A couple of weeks ago, I met a family whose 23 year old son is severely disabled due to running into the street at the age of 2.5 and being hit by a car. The fine line between relief and tragedy is terrifying and, unfortunately, things do not always end well. But so often they do, and for that we must be so, so, so grateful. “There but for the grace of God (or whatever you believe in) go we…”

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kelcey kintner