Squeezing Lemon, Added Sugar

My version of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Eee-yow-wooooo!!!

Last night one of my children with autism broke the knob on his bedroom door.  He was locked inside his room.  Knowing nothing about locksmithing or Breaking and Entering, I quietly panicked while soothing him.  I whipped out my cellphone and tried to reach his dad while calling grandparents and friends on the LAN line.  I left pointed messages while talking my son through some steps to see if he could open the door from his side.  I kept coaxing him to stay calm with a phone stuck to each of my ears.  I needed three mouths to open this door.

A butter knife wouldn’t unlock the door.  I couldn’t get him out, but my son wanted out now!  His anxiety level rose as he started to rattle the loose knob and bang the door with his fists.  The doorknob started to slip through its hole.  Reason started to slip out of my brain.

I’ve learned to take my advice from a past post or two.  The tip about asking for help is well ingrained by now.  But what do you do if no one answers?  Are you there God it’s me Margaret.

You become resourceful (a legend in your own mind).  I imagined the sound of breaking glass and dramatically pulling my kid through a window.  This was an option, but he’s bigger than me.  My thoughts swirled into a vortex as I tried to concentrate on the door hinges, wondering if I had everything in the tool box.  Who am I kidding?  I remembered my pink tool box stores only a glue gun.

I decided to try a credit card to jimmy the lock, Mod Squad style.  An old Sears credit card was too thick.  Aha!  The Target card once got me 10% off of a one-time purchase.  I kept working the latch with Trusty Target until the door mercifully swung open.    The card’s a goner, but my son is free.

It was a standoff as we eyed each other in the hallway.  This is a child who can be unpredictable in upsetting circumstances.  Sweating bullets, I backed up to give him some space.  He was fine!  He only wanted to come out to use the computer.  But what came next was the biggest shocker.  My formerly tactile-defensive son walked up and hugged me.  “Can I get on the desktop?”

It is good to prepare for the unexpected if you can.  It’s better to acknowledge gifts of grace received.  Sometimes, just sometimes, a person can pull himself (or herself) out of his or her own window.

Here’s what I added to the To Do list:

  • Learn how to install a door handle.
  • Get a tutorial on taking a door off its hinges.
  • Don’t drink the Koolaid.
  • Keep making the lemonade.  You never know what doors will open for your loved ones…and for you.
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  1. Deanna Dahl says:

    Awww, I was waiting for you to kick the door down ninja style!! Cute story…running to make my lemonade for the day now! Deanna Dahl

  2. momof3au says:

    Dear \”Grasshopper\”,

    It is not the answer we seek, but the question.


  3. Amy says:

    You go girl! (Removing the hinges isn\’t too hard to learn…for possible next time. But you\’ll need a hammer and screwdriver in that toolbox of yours)
    My ADHD son got locked in the bathroom at his grandparents\’ N.Y. lake house when age 2 while I was safely home in NC- requiring a rescue by the local Sheriff. I still have the picture of him in our upstairs hallway, standing in diaper with the Sheriff\’s cap on his head and stick in his hand when finally safe outside!

  4. bensmyson says:

    \”Pink toolbox\”, it\’s a fact, to remove that door that stands between you and your child, ya gotta have the right tool. I checked my NASCAR rugged tool box full of hammers and think I need to pay a visit to my friendly helpful hardware man. More tools!

  5. Sian says:

    Dahlink …. take the lock off the door!

    Because: 1: There will never be a barrier when your son needs you and you are so close, but so far.
    2: In a few years he will want to lock himself in his room and … see 1 above.

    With love, as always.

  6. Donna says:

    Great story! So great to see how far we\’ve come! I love it!

  7. John Kirton says:

    We turned the door knob around so the lock is on the outside. Isn\’t panic fun?

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