He needed me. And I found a way to get there.

by Miranda on June 15, 2011

This morning I got up, showered, vacuumed, made coffee, and broke down a door. All before 10:00 a.m.

Yes. You read that correctly. I broke down my own front door.

Here’s how the conversation that led to this went:

Dan: “You know, Jennifer’s coming over this morning. You might want to clean the rest of the bird crap off the front door.”

Me: “Yeah. I’ll do that.”

As I was sitting on the couch, drinking my first cup of coffee, snuggling my toddler, and watching Thomas, I realized that I hadn’t yet cleaned the door.

(In case that picture wasn’t enough explanation, birds built a nest in the wreath on my front door. And then shat all over it. And since I never USE the front door, always entering and exiting through the garage, I rarely think about the bird shat that WAS on my front door but which is no longer there.)

So, I scooted Joshua to the next cushion, tucked him into his cuddle blanket, and said “Mama be right back.” And then I grabbed a couple of Lysol wipes and a paper towel and went to clean the door. But the only way to CLEAN the bird shat without getting it inside the house, was to shut the door.

So I did.

And then Joshua locked me out of the house.

And then he couldn’t unlock the door because he didn’t realize he’d locked it in the first place. He just knew I was on the other side of that door and he wasn’t with me.

My kid? Kind of a Mama’s boy. To the point that sometimes I can’t sleep in on Saturday mornings because he and I aren’t in the same room. So he started whining. And then he started crying. And wailing. And I am on the outside of the door going “Joshie, see that thing in the middle! Turn that!”

Yeah. That worked about as well as you imagine it did.

I tried using a bobby pin thinking I could pick the lock with it.

That also worked about as well as you imagine it did.

I felt little spikes of panic starting to creep up inside me. It was completely quiet in my cul-de-sac. Not a peep coming from anywhere or anything except my neighbor’s dogs. But, I walked to the neighbor’s house–barefoot–and knocked on the door.

No answer.

So I knocked a little louder. Still no answer.

“One of their cars is in the driveway, but maybe it’s just the girls at home right now.”

So yeah, no answer. So I walked back over to my house and tried the front door again hoping Joshua had magically unlocked it.


So I went around to the sliding glass door off of our kitchen hoping, wishing, praying that we’d left it unlocked the last time we grilled.


I could see Joshua wandering around the living room crying “Maaaamaaaaaa….MAAAAAMAAAAAAA” because he couldn’t find me.

He was so, so scared. And the panic in my belly was getting stronger.

“Come to the door, Joshua! Come to the door!” I called. But he didn’t come. The dog did, and she looked at me with her sad puppy eyes in a complete state of confusion.

I saw a shovel and wondered if I could pry the door open. So I tried. But no, I couldn’t. Then I thought about using the shovel to smash a window. And then I thought of the mess that would make.

“Mama will be right back, Joshua,” I said, as though he could hear me over his crying.

I went back to the neighbor’s house. I knocked louder. I rang the bell. And still, no answer.

I went back to the front door and tried again. And no. Nothing. I could still hear him crying inside.

I pulled a screen off a front window hoping the window would be loose. No. And he was still crying, wandering around the rooms in our house, occasionally calling out for me.

I went to the back of the house again and I tore off another screen and grabbed the shovel and tried to pry the window up but it became clear that was not going to work either. So I went back to the sliding door and knocked on it, calling out Joshua’s name over and over until he came to me.

And finally, he did. He came to me. And there were tears streaming down his face like little rivers. He was so scared.

“MA MA!” Yes, Joshie, yes. Mama!

So I started tapping at the door near the handle, trying to get him to see the latch. Trying to get him to push it down so I could open the door.

In the back of my mind I was thinking “If he learns this there will be no containing him!” And I saw him toddling his way through our back yard on some tw-year-old’s adventure to nowhere.

And the other side of me thought “Get in the house NOW. Worry about safety-latching the sliding door later!

“Mama, opuh!!” He said. And I said “Yes, Joshua, open!” And he tugged on the handle. I tried directing him again to the latch and again, he didn’t understand. He couldn’t see it.

“MA MA. OPUH” he demanded!

I patted and tapped and he cried. And then I began to cry. And I cried. And I cried. And I begged God to just let me get in my house. Please. Now.

The dog came to the window and Joshua, in his frustration, kicked and slapped at her with his two-year-old might, shouting “Annie NO!” And she just laid down and waited. And he cried out to me and reached for me and slapped the glass and wanted nothing more than to just have me.

“Mama UP!” he begged. Pleaded. And I pleaded more and put my face on the glass and begged, again, to just let me get back into my house.

I was there. But I wasn’t there. I was trapped on the other side of the glass door. So close. But so far away.

And Joshua in his inability to understand WHY I didn’t just pick him up, why I didn’t just take away his hurt and frustration, laid down in the floor by the door and curled up into a ball and cried into his hands and I knew that was it. I was getting into that house.

And that was the end of my lack of panic. I’d been calm for what I supposed amounted to 20 minutes but which felt like eternity.

I went back to the front door and tried the handle one last time. And then I leaned on the door to see how much give it had. Which turned out to be not much with just leaning on it.

So I grabbed the handle and slammed my body into the door, shoulder first. And I saw how much the force of my body caused the door to give at the top. So I slammed again and noticed that nothing was happening at the bottom of the door.

So I positioned my hip under my shoulders. And I slammed my body into the door again. And I saw there was giving.

I grabbed the doorknob again and slammed again. And again. I could hear Joshua’s cries in the living room. I knew he was close. I prayed he wasn’t standing directly behind the door. And I slammed again.

And again.

And then I heard wood crack, and I was in and he was in my arms in almost the same second. We collapsed. The two of us a mess of tears and fear on the floor in the foyer, leaning against a wall. Crying for ourselves and each other.

“It’s okay…it’s okay. Mama’s here now, Joshie. Mama’s here now.”

“Maamaaaa…” He handed me his sippy of milk and tried to share it with me, hoping it would calm my soul like my presence calmed his.

He put his head down and cried just a little more. And then he got up and held my hand and we closed the door.

He needed me. And I found a way to get there.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 krista June 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Oh damn, lady. I can’t even imagine how awful that must have been for both of you. Thank goodness you were able to get in.


2 Miranda June 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm

It was awful. I can chuckle about it now, but only sort of. I’ve never been so glad to hear something breaking in my life.


3 story June 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Oh my gosh. I don’t think I would have been able to breathe. You poor things. But? You broke down a freaking door. You can beat anything.

And sharing a sippy with you? That’s one good kid you’re raising there.


4 Miranda June 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm


And the sharing of the sippy? totally made me laugh. Such a sweet boy I have.


5 Jess @ Bringing Up Baby June 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Holy hell. You’re sort of my hero. And my heart was in my throat as I was reading that and thinking of how I’d feel in that same situation. I am impressed, woman!


6 Miranda June 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Holy hell, indeed. And no need to be impressed (too much). I mean, there’s still a door that needs fixing. :/


7 Andrea - @ParalegalMom June 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Oh my gosh!!! Kudos to you and mommy strength!


8 Miranda June 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Mommy strength! Yes!


9 Alissa June 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I had tears in my eyes after reading this! So glad it all worked out ok!

I have a little man too, and he locked me out of the house last Fall, when he was about 14 months or so. Luckily, our window was unlocked, I was able to bend the screen enough, and he didn’t get too upset. I can’t imagine watching him lose it.

Oh, and after I told my husband the story of how I had bent the screen to get in the house, he questioned why I hadn’t just used a credit card to open the door. No credit card? Why not a crowbar? Shove it, MacGyver.


10 Miranda June 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I’m glad it worked out, too.

Your husband does know that the whole use-a-credit-card-to-open-the-door thing doesn’t actually work, right? o_O

Also? When I called my husband to tell him what happened he said “Why didn’t you call me!?!?!” Uh, hello!? Locked out here. No neighbors home. I think his brain got stuck on “I broke down our front door” and didn’t get much farther than that for a minute.


11 Jana A June 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

You’re totally a freaking hero, girl. Him on the floor crying breaks my heart :(


12 Miranda June 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

That was the moment when I knew that I WOULD be getting into that house NAOW. There was no more waiting.


13 Diana @Hormonal Imbalances June 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I am crying. :( The thought of his poor little scared face and how badly he wanted you to be there just did me in.

You are amazing – if I get locked in the BlogHer hotel room please tell me you’ll use the same strength to get me out. :p


14 Miranda June 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

When I think about it, my heart gets all in my throat.

And yes. But if you get trapped in the hotel room, I’m flagging down a maid, okay? Because ow.


15 Jenn @ Middle of Mommyhood June 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Wow. I mean, I heard this firsthand when I made it there this morning. And then I heard the story come out of my mouth as I relayed your superpowers to Brandon. But then reading? I am STILL all nervous and shivering and damn proud.

And just for future reference, I am the kind of friend who would never require you to clean bird poop off your door for me.
I think I should write greeting cards.


16 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

I think you SHOULD write greeting cards. And I know you never expect a perfect house, which is why I like you and keep you around.


17 Devan @ Accustomed Chaos June 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm

It really is incredible what our bodies can do when we are left with what feels like no other options. I can only imagine the panic (ga!)

Hard core Mamma. Hard core!


18 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

After I saw him lay down and cry, I think I could’ve lifted a bus. Or died trying. Or given myself a hernia.


19 Jenn Collins @ Monkey Butt Junction June 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

That made me all weepy. You painted such a vivid picture – I wanted to crawl into your story and go unlock that door myself.

I love that you had a reserve of mama strength when you needed it. MAMA. SMASH.


20 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:07 am

I wish you HAD crawled into my story and unlocked the door!

And MAMA SMASH indeed :)


21 Julie June 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Oh goodness..this brought back memories! Easton got locked in my car, in the middle of summer, when he was about 5 months old. was SO scary. And his tears..oh…it still breaks my heart thinking about it. Good for you for breaking that damn door down!!!


22 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:10 am

If it had been the car window? It would’ve been broken. No question. But the house? I could NOT get into my own house. I kept thinking about the cost to replace our 20+ year old windows (which, honestly, NEEDS to be done, so maybe I should’ve just smashed the window as an excuse to make that happen…) and I was thought-paralyzed.


23 Cole June 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Ohmigosh, poor Josh! And poor Mama! When he curled in a sad ball, I got tears in my eyes for you guys – so glad you were able to get in and cuddle away the fear…

And lady? You’re like a Mommy Super Hero! Door smashing? wow!


24 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:11 am

That was my moment. In all of my life, any time he is in a moment of stress, I will picture his little body in that ball and act. Not think. Act.


25 Tawny June 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

You are a super hero! They say that when a mama bear needs to get to her cubs, she’ll find a way. And you did! Awesome.


26 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

I was so a mama bear yesterday.


27 Sarah June 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Oh my goodness. So sad. :( I am glad you got in there. You are super woman to get through that door.


28 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

I definitely donned my supermom cape yesterday.


29 Alison@Mama Wants This June 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Oh my, I had my heart pumping out of my chest reading this! I commend you for doing what you did, I would have totally freaked out. So glad you broke that damn door!

It was so sweet of him to offer you his sippy cup, awwwww.


30 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

So sweet that kid. And I was freaking on the inside. Totally.


31 emily June 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm

You? Are amazing… gooo mommy. I loved this story and my heart ached for both of you. I have quite a mommy’s boy too. Cannot imagine


32 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:24 am

There are times when having a Mama’s Boy is exhausting. But mostly? I love it.


33 Kimberly June 16, 2011 at 3:11 am

Wow. I was freaking out just reading this, I don’t know how you handled this as it happened. Way to go for breaking that door down!

And how adorably sweet of him to offer his sippy cup! Aww!


34 Miranda June 16, 2011 at 9:25 am

You know? I think I just sort of knew I had to handle it. And so I did. There was no room for freaking out.

And my boy? Such a sweet boy. Love him.


35 Tiffany June 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

oh, honey.

been there. G wasn’t quite 2. i was about 6 months pregnant. i went in the backyard with my dog to let him pee. the last thing i thought was, ‘i wonder if G can lock the door’, then i shut it. G could lock a door. it was winter. i was braless. G was ok at first, then she just wanted me back in the house. we both cried. after about 30 minutes i found a neighbor who let me use their phone. the husband never drove home so fast.

some seriously scary stuff. and you feel so helpless. but you, friend, are super; not just mom. :)


36 Suz June 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Oh wow! How crazy. Glad you found a way in & y’all are both ok! Maybe time to put out a hide-a-key?


37 Teresa June 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

Oh wow, I felt my blood pressure rising as you tried to get into the house! I have been in the same situation and had to go into a window. It is the worst feeling in the world!!


38 MamaRobinJ July 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Oh my god – I missed this one somehow! How totally scary. I can just imagine his tears and your panic. And damn girl, you broke the door down?! Did it have to get fixed?

I do have to say though that I laughed out loud when I read Jenn’s comment about how she’d never expect you to clean bird poop off the door for her. Doh. Too late ;)


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