October 28, 2007

Elevator Button Karma

The elevator binged and the doors slid open on our floor. "Come on, Pixie," I said to my two year old and stepped off into the foyer. I looked back and Pixie's small hand stretched out towards me from the back of the elevator. The doors were sliding closed. Then she was gone.

Panic. I pressed my mouth to the crack in the doors, "Pixie! Can you hear me!" I heard what sounded like her small voice and the rumble of the elevator as it continued to the next floor. A quick scan of the lobby offered no nearby stairwells. There were 8 floors at the hotel we stayed at this weekend, each one a maze of unnavigable halls. I had no idea where the elevator would stop and knew Pixie would relish this unexpected freedom. She'd get off for sure.

I jammed the elevator buttons, both Up and Down and pressed my ear to the doors. There was the elevator again coming closer. Closer. Farther! It had passed my floor. I jammed the buttons again and yelled with frustration.

My mind raced with possibilities. The elevator doors would open on a random floor and Pixie would get out. She would wander the halls, picking through the dirty dishes left outside the rooms, scavenging for rolls. She'd find a service cart and hop underneath the tablecloth. Holding back giggles, she'd be wheeled down to the kitchen by an unsuspecting maid. Once in the kitchen, she'd undoubtedly find all kinds of creative uses for the broilers, fryers, steak knives and ovens (all of which involve her painful yet embarrassing dismemberment.)

But here was the elevator coming again! "Pixie!" I yelled. It didn't stop. I stared with amazement at the lit call buttons next to the elevator. Was this some terrible joke? Had my floor disappeared into some Halloween vortex of Hell where nobody could ever exit on my level again? Was this my cosmic payback for all the times I joked to my husband about not picking up Pixie from the babysitters? I tried to think of what she was wearing so I could describe her to the police.

Pigtails. She wore only a soggy swim diaper, a stained blue t-shirt and brown Sketchers sandals. She was carrying a purple sponge shaped like a "P." We had just come from the pool so the dogs should probably follow a chlorine trail. She often walks backward so that might throw them off...are dogs trained to track toddlers? I can't even track her when I'm looking straight at her. Why didn't I inject one of those high-tech GPS chips in her bum? Or at least get my cell phone number tattooed on her forehead. What kind of mother am I?

Time was impossible to gauge, but it seemed like it had been almost five minutes before I heard noise inside the shaft again. I looked at the elevator buttons but resisted the urge to punch them. Bing! It was stopping on my floor. The doors opened and I saw a group of six women, smiling grandly at me. In the middle of this maternal circle was Pixie, pointing a finger and me and grinning. Apparently Pixie had run into a woman entering the elevator on the bottom level. She had secured my daughter and they rode the elevator until they found me, picking up a supportive group of women on their travels up and down the shaft who joined in the fun. By the time the car finally stopped at my floor, Pixie had chatted them all up and they were bosom buddies.

Is it too blasphemous to compare this to the time Mary and Joseph accidentally left young Jesus behind in Jerusalem after Passover? After an entire day of traveling back home, they realized he was gone and (I'm conjecturing here) freaked out. They rushed back to the city and three days later found him teaching the elders at the temple. "Son, why have you treated us like this?" asked his mother when she found him. But to Jesus, their worry for him was secondary to the good work he was doing for others.

Pixie is shaping up to be quite an ambassador herself. For the rest of our stay at the hotel this weekend, Pixie kept running into these different women and stopping to chat. While it was a fast way to make friends, I'm with Mary on this one. The Greater Good can wait, at least until I buy that kid a leash!

25 comments:

amelia bedelia said...

There is nothing scarier (that I've encountered) than watching your young child disappear into the abyss of the elevator shaft. It happened last month with my 15 month old son - yikes. I was sure he was going to get off and then go tumbling down the open stairwell. Luckily, he was terrified, stayed on, and rode down all 16 floors until the doors opened. I have NEVER been so happy to hear him screaming at the top of his lungs. I still get chills thinking about it. Glad to hear Penny is okay and to you: Great writing!

Jared said...

Maybe I don't want Lindsey to start crawling and walking.

Amy said...

Holy cow...that story just makes me want to vomit. Nothing is scarier than losing your kid...NOTHING! It makes for a very sincere and focused prayer, doesn't it? Ugh...I'm so glad you found her.

Summer said...

Oh my gosh I've had this happen before with my oldest after the maintenance crew "fixed" our apartment elevator. Not only did the door now close like 5 seconds after it opened, it had no motion sensor on it, so my 5 year olds arm nearly got crushed and then as the door was closing he's screaming and crying. I could hear him hollering as the elevator went three floors down and as it came back up. It was awful!!
By the way I have a giveaway on right now you might want to check out.

Susan M said...

Yikes! Glad you found her.

Priscilla said...

With three busy boys I frequently 'misplaced' one or the other from time to time. You know when one is missing but when you have 3 it could be awhile before you figure out you left one in the bathroom at the gas station. Or where ever.

Annie said...

I could feel your panic.

Annie said...

Sounds like Mini Me and Penny have similar personaliites. Sometimes I think a healthy dose of fear would do my Mini Me some good.

Sue said...

Yikes, yikes, yikes. That gave me the sweats. Glad it turned out o.k.

Janell said...

Little does Penny know she'll now have to submit herself to an hourly "outfit photo" for the rest of the year.

s'mee said...

Holy Hannah! This kind of life experience is (was for me) life changing. Talk about your over protective mother gene reaching a peak.

I am so glad this had a good ending.

I am going back to bed now, I need to recover from this post!

AzĂșcar said...

This is my fear. That's why when exciting an elevator I step to the middle of the door to stop it from closing until I can talk my kid into exciting.

That common sense approach failed me last week when trying to catch a flight we had to go down an escalator. I had the baby in one arm, rolling luggage in the other, and a small child left at the top of the escalator as I descended. His eyes brimming with tears as I tried to coax him to step on the escalator while I was getting farther and farther away.

I'm so glad another woman picked up his hand and convinced him to step onto the stair; it takes a village.

Caroline said...

Man alive, I would've died. Isn't it nice to know that Penny at least didn't lose her cool?

Melinda said...

Hooray for those ladies for not yelling at you. I love it when people help instead of trying to beat moms down "for the good of society"

Lindsay said...

I was once the kid left behind on the elevator. I don't remember much about the experience except that I'm pretty sure I freaked out. Penny sounds like a much braver girl.

Heffalump said...

I would have freaked out...FREAKED OUT!

Shiloh said...

Sarah you are such a good writer, and such a good mother. Tell Penny I'm glad she's safe! :)

Jamie J said...

Glad Penny's safe! I would have lost it!

Suzie Petunia said...

I've lost my kids in stores too many times to count. But never the elevator. No wait... yah, I've done that, too. It really is amazing that my kids are all here and accounted for.

Jessica G. said...

Okay, I know it was a scary situation and if it ever happened to me, I'd be curled up by the trash can, eating my hair - BUT seriously funny! I can totally imagine Mary considering taking the rod to her Son's backside.

Ang said...

I just read that bathtubs are the 8th germiest place in America. Worse than hotel room remote controls but better than airplane restrooms. The number one germiest? The kitchen sink! Check it out:

http://www.health.com/health/slideshow/0,26086,1673222-1,00.html

ang said...

Nice. I just posted under the wrong topic!

Chris & Allie said...

This is one of my worst nightmares! I'm sure that my story wouldn't turn out as well as yours did. I left my oldest on the bottom of an escalator when he was 2, but at least I could see him! I just had my 4th and I know it's just a matter of time before I lose one. It's getting harder to keep them right next to me. By the way, I got to go to breakfast with Bethany over the weekend, she is so much fun!---Your cousin Chris C.'s wife

My Semblance of Sanity said...

HOLY COW!!!!!
I would have pooped my pants!!

God bless those women!!

Good for Penny, her first taste of independence...watch out!!

:)

Rachelle said...

At least your incident is excusable. Once I left my 5 year old at church. Which was 15 miles away.
Hubby thought I got him, I thought he got him, you know the drill.
Suffice it to say, aren't we glad bishop has late interviews!
HA!
Rachelle