That horrible helpless feeling strikes again

 
 

Chicago Parent staff

 

bronwynPosted by Bronwyn W.

I was at work last Friday waiting for my son to call. Usually he calls me as soon as he gets home from school and lets himself in. Sometimes he calls even sooner, before leaving school, if he wants to go to someone's house to play (I am not allowed to use the term 'play date' anymore).

A few minutes after 3 my phone rang and my son's voice came on, weirdly breathless. Although all he said was "Mom?" my mom-spidey-sense was immediately tingling.

"Yes. Honey, what's wrong? Are you OK?" (the instant mom response). "Yes, but, this is going to sound really dumb..."

"Nothing is dumb as long as you're OK. What's going on??"

(With a howl) "I'm STUCK in a SNOWBANK!"

Turns out on the walk home, W was amusing himself jumping into the piled up snowbanks between the sidewalk and the streets. But a few days of heavy snow, followed by a thaw, then freezing, had left the snow with an outer crust, but less stability underneath.

Jumping into a particularly promising specimen W's feet broke through the snow and he immediately sank in, trapping his legs and feet.

"Can you wriggle your feet? Can you move your boots and sort of climb up?"

"No, I tried that," came a voice of tired reproof (subtext: I am not stupid, mom). "When I try to move my feet they're sort of trapped. The snow is hard."

"Do you see anyone?"

Nothing makes you feel more helpless than knowing your child is dealing with a situation and you are too far away to take care of it.

Telling W to sit tight (like he had a choice) I frantically went through my phone list trying to think what moms were likely to be home. Bingo! W's best friend's family had just gotten back from a vacation in Hawaii! The mom was definitely due for some snow time. Getting no answer, I left a message, then called W back. He was still stuck.

"Don't worry," I told him." Someone will see you soon and come and help you out."

"I just saw Mrs. H getting out of her car and I waved at her, but she just waved back and went in her house."

"OK, I just tried to call her. I'm going to call them again right now and she'll come out and help you."

This time I was able to get Mrs. H, who, when I asked if she had seen W, said in a puzzled voice, "I just saw him playing in the snow. He waved to me." When I explained what happened, she hung up quickly and a few minutes later called me back to say that after removing W's heavy backpack, she was able to grab both arms and haul him out onto the sidewalk.

"He was actually right in front of the D's front window," she said. "Eventually someone would have looked out the window and noticed him standing in their yard!"

I thanked her and just as I hung up, W called again.

"You're out!" I said.

"Yes," he said, a little subdued. "I think I just want to go home now, though."

"Good idea," I replied.

"Call me as soon as you get in and get your coat off. And, um... don't play in any more snowbanks on the way home, OK?"

A relieved pause. "No mom. I don't think I want to do that any more today!"

Another crisis averted, thanks to the neighborhood network of moms!

 
 







 
 
 
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