Thursday, October 23, 2014

Feeling Bennie's Shame

If someone asked me today if I was a responsible babysitter and good with children I would say yes, but three years ago I was new to the idea of taking care of anyone but myself. We have some friends from church, incredibly nice people with two little kids and a newborn baby. To this day when someone mentions the family a huge ball drops in my stomach and suddenly I feel the need to apologize to whoever is sitting near me.

II was dropped off at the family's apartment who were in a rush to leave in order to meet some friends at a local restaurant called Maya del Sol. They brought the baby with them and decided to walk to dinner. This seems unimportant to the story but believe me it comes in later. They told me a Papa Johns pizza was on its way so I wouldn't have to worry about dinner. It has been three years and I still refuse to touch a Papa John's pizza. The night started off great, the kids were enjoying themselves and laughing thats when I heard a buzzer ring, at this moment the evening took a turn for the worse. All of a sudden I panicked I had no idea how to get the pizza from down stairs, so without thinking it through I told the two kids to just wait in the apartment while I went to get it. Big mistake. I can still hear the sound of the kids rushing down the stairs. Thump, Thump, Thump. I knew immediately we were screwed.

I quickly grabbed the large cheese pizza and spirited back up the stairs. As I am writing this I can feel my face getting red and my heart is beating just a little faster. The next 60 seconds were kind of a blur me grabbing at the closed locked door and the kids starting to panic. Then survival mode kicked in. No spare key. No neighbors with a key. I had left my phone in the apartment so I couldn't reach my parents or the families parents. Looking back at it I see the situation could have been worse. We could have been stuck outside, the baby could have been with us. The dog could have gotten out, or someone could have been injured, but in the moment this was pretty much a babysitter's worst nightmare. The kids started pounding on the door and asking the old golden retriever on the other side to let them in. I realized our only option was to knock on the door of the neighbors across the hall. The kids told me they knew the neighbors and that they were a little odd but safe. I knocked and it took a minute or so for them to respond, quite possibly the longest minute of my 13 year old life. When the door finally opened you could tell the people had no idea what to say or do but they graciously let us use a phone. Three years later I could tell you nothing about the apartment or what the people looked like all I can remember or perhaps the only part I didn't block out from the horrifying 3 minutes was the parrot in the cage to the left of the door. Luckily the kids knew their dads cell phone number and he answered right away. Parents must make kids know phone numbers for this very situation. The dad had to come home and let us back into the apartment. I think about what he must have told the people they were having dinner with. Perhaps it was something like

“I have to go for a few minutes our babysitter has locked herself and the children out of our house”.

Now the reason I remember the restaurant they were at is because if you have ever been to Maya Del Sol you know that they have a limo that will take people, who have had one to many margaritas, home. The car has the name of the restaurant and crazy patterns all over it you could spot it from a mile away. The three of us sat outside the apartment eating that pizza for I am not sure how long probably only 10 minutes but it seemed like hours. I saw the limo pull up and the dad rush up the stairs he was quick to let us in. I have never been so mortified in my entire life. I could not bring myself to make eye contact I felt so ashamed. For some reason he went back to the restaurant and trusted me to watch his kids for the rest of the night, but he was clearly hesitant. The kids were asleep when they got home and the dad gave me a ride back to my house. I had to try desperately not to cry but I kept myself together. They still payed me $20. The family moved to South Carolina just a few months later I know this was due to his job but somewhere in the back of my mind I wonder if it is because of that night. Sometimes I think about what I could have done differently or if I should go back to thank the parrot people and give the family back the $20. I am not sure what the moral is here. Perhaps that no one should ever trust a 13 year old with their children.

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