I’m going to take a moment away from talking about libraries to share what I’m calling The Most Bizarre Evening Ever.
I got home from a long day at the library at around 5pm EST. My son Aero was pretty sleepy and ready for a nap and my wife Haley was getting ready to go see the movie Pitch Perfect starring Anna Kendrick. The weird part about this? She was going to go see it with some neighbors, one of who is Anna Kendrick’s mother (a really wonderful and smart lady!). So in my head, that’s just something odd and out of the ordinary that lends to the story.
I snuggle into bed with Aero. He really likes to nap on top of me while he sucks my finger. I guess it’s a comfort thing for him. For me, it’s a nice break after I get back from a day at the library surrounded by teens. While he’s napping, I queue up The Walking Dead. I just started season two. It’s one of the shows I watch by myself because my wife Haley isn’t really into it. The thing about the show and me is this: my brain is already in full on zombie apocalypse preparation mode. I’ve got a plan in my head just in case this really does happen (PS: it’s a pretty good one). So I’m already on high alert.
Haley finishes getting ready and takes Aero from me to breastfeed him before she leaves. I go into the living room where my older son Finn is sitting on the couch, dozing back and forth, almost falling off the couch. He looks a bit like a zombie but that’s only because he didn’t take a nap today. I guess bedtime at 6pm is really happening tonight and that’s OK with me. I pick him up and carry him into bed. I take Aero back from Haley and snuggle in for what looks like to be an evening in bed with the boys and Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead.
Haley leaves to go see her movie and just a few minutes later someone starts ringing our doorbell and knocking on our patio door. This may seem normal to most people but here’s the thing…no one ever rings our doorbell or knocks on our patio door. I immediately rule out the possibility of it being Haley because I know she has her phone (she texted me) and I heard her take her keys. The boys start to wiggle a bit. “Oh no…they’re gonna wake up and be grumpy.” Luckily they calm down and fall back asleep, and I go back to The Walking Dead and immerse myself in a hellish world of zombies and complaining humans.
Ten minutes later the doorbell starts up again. This time, the boys are waking up for real. Have you ever seen a ten month old be suddenly awoken from a nap? They love to scream because they’re usually very confused about what’s going on. Have you ever seen a very tired and not napped three and half year old suddenly awoken from a nap? That’s not fun either, and to top it all off Finn suffers from night terrors (basically, he’s awake but not awake and he’s crying/screaming and requesting really random things that are most likely happening in his dream). All of this is going on at once. I just watched Rick Grimes shoot a zombie walker in the face and I’m on high alert. It’s totally dark in our condo. What is going on?
Finn runs out into the living room, bouncing from the couch to the floor back to the couch and running into the wall. He’s mumbling “I want it, I want it” but I’m not sure what it is because it is in his dream. I’m holding Aero and he’s crying in my ear. Once I get one kid calmed down, the other erupts and then the other kid is back to screaming. There’s no end in sight…and then.
It feels as if there’s a giant airplane RIGHT overhead our condo. The whole place is shaking. Will it crash into us? Is the world ending? Is it a meteor? I DON’T KNOW AND EVERYONE IS SCREAMING AT ME AND THINGS COULDN’T GET WORSE AND I HAVEN’T GOT THE WOOD, HAMMER, AND NAILS TO PREPARE FOR THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE YET. No worries, it’s just an earthquake…in Maine. The earthquake lasts about 3-5 seconds tops and I rush to collect both of my boys to make sure they’re ok. Aero is safely in my arms and Finn is in the middle of the living room peeing his pants. For real peeing his pants. Like it’s everywhere. He rushes over to me mid urination and hugs me. He’s scared. I’m scared. Aero’s scared. What is going on? The three of us embrace and regroup.
It takes about 30 minutes to calm everyone down. Finn is now requesting a milkshake so I gladly tell him that I’ll get him one. It takes about another 15 minutes to get everyone dressed, diapers changed, urine wiped off the floor, and everything else. We end up at the car and for a moment, there’s peace. The rest of the night has ups and downs, as the boys never fully recovered from everything that just went down, but we make it through. Haley gets home and the boys hug her as I get a second wind and clean the entire house while telling her about the madness that just went down. It was a night I will never forget. I will really enjoy sharing this story with my sons and their future friends and partners for years to come.