So I’m doing dishes, Issa wakes up from a nap and is screaming, I grab her and the doorbell rings. The water is still running in the kitchen sink. I open the door and it is a 3 year old little girl, alone. She starts to just…come inside my house, pulling open the screen door and speaking quite matter-of-factly in either gibberish or unintelligible child-like Spanish, I’m not sure which. She is quickly deterred by Sam licking her face and steps back onto the porch.
I go on the front porch and look around, none of my neighbors are out. She grabs my free hand (I’m still holding Issa) and starts to pull me along. She wants to inspect the other side of the porch, still mumbling as if I fully understand every word she is saying. I pull her to the opposite side, asking her where her parents are and where she came from. She just mumbles some more. We walk to the edge of the driveway where I’m sure I’ll spot someone frantically looking for this little girl but there’s no one.
I realize I have no shoes on and the bits of pine cone left over from the local squirrels’ daily meals are digging into my feet.
I start to kind of panic. What does one do with a lost child? Where do you take it? Who do you call?
Not ghost busters.
So I decide that we’re going to walk. Someone has to be looking for her somewhere. And she’s like 3-ish, her legs are tiny, she can’t have walked far. But first I need shoes.
We walk back to the house, I try to get her to stay on the porch cause I know there are flip flops just inside the door, but she refuses. She walks right in the door, past Sam’s inquisitive sniffs and licks and into my living room where she mumbles some more stuff. The water is still running. I keep thinking she can’t be in here, someone is going to think I stole her. So I quickly slide my shoes on and tell her we’re going to go for a walk. She seems much more interested in exploring my house, but I grab her hand and we head out.
I’m still carrying Issa.
We get as far as the neighbor’s driveway when a guy in a chef coat who must be my neighbor’s nephew or something cause I see him quite often, frantically emerges from their house, cell phone firmly pressed against his ear. He see’s me, see’s the little girl, and a look of relief comes over his face. I say, “Is she yours?” He says yes, takes her hand, and apologizes profusely. I tell him it’s no problem.
That was by far the strangest thing that’s happened to me in a while. This whole situation has made me think several things…
1. I’m not sure how she reached the doorbell because she could barely reach the handle to the screen door.
2. I think it’s very sad that I was nervous to let her in my house, scared of being accused of stealing her or something. I suppose that’s the world we live in.
3. Shoes are important and I don’t like pine trees.
4. I wish I knew Spanish or child gibberish better.
5. Six weeks ago I probably would have called him an irresponsible father. But now, and my kid isn’t even mobile yet, I can totally see how this could easily happen. As a parent your brain is going a million miles a minute and you’re thinking of 1000 things a once. You’re doing at least two things at once at all times. It would be so easy for that little girl to just open the front door and walk out while he was say, doing the dishes, or going to the bathroom, or changing the laundry over, or doing one of the hundreds of things we do in a day. And while it scares the crap out of me to think that in a few short years it could be Issa ringing our neighbor’s doorbell without me knowing, it does make me thankful that we have good neighbors. And it certainly makes me want to get to know them better.
6. Lastly, I should always turn the water off.