This one is embarrassing. I was fortunate to attend A.L.I.C.E. training on a Wednesday morning earlier this month. Essentially, this is a form of enhanced lockdown in the event of the unthinkable. I’m happy to have the tools to keep my students and myself safe should the worst happen. However, the training was…scary. We wore riot masks (in case we were “shot” – with airsoft gun- by the “bad guy”, who happened to be our school liaison officer). Im in the middle in the picture above. I’m happy to report I was quick to think on my feet and my teammates and I survived and actually had a pretty secure room! I was pretty proud of myself. I learned a lot that day – most of which I never wanted to know and ALL of which I never hoped to use. Except I did. Only two days later. All of the training was used. But, in my home.
I also had the privilege of having lunch with a colleague (a rarity in education) due to the training schedule. It was good to catch up, but even more so – this is the type of colleague & friend where you can talk “deep” very quickly and really know one another well. It was good for my soul to have someone ‘really’ listen and I did my best to be a good listener too (I hate to admit, but I’m usually so caught up in myself that I’m not very good at really listening- I’m working on it). This friend dropped me off to pick up the rental car (the van woes continue). We went back to work to teach the rest of the day and I didn’t think much more of it.
Friday morning, I wake up a few minutes before my alarm goes off (at 5am) because P is stirring. She’s FAR too big for the bassinet, but it’s so convenient…I know, I know. Remember I already lost “mom of the year” on Jan 1st – it’s so freeing! So P is right next to my bed (on my left), and starting to stir. I stick the paci back in and start playing on my phone. M is snoring (we have a tonsil consult later this week) and wedged under my right arm, because she is incapable of sleep in her own bed – yep, she’s 5. “The man” likes to go downstairs each morning at a ridiculous hour and think about running. Most days he goes – but all days he thinks about going.
I hear the loudest man’s voice coming from down stairs. It was not “the man” that I’m married to. It said in the loudest, scary calm, serious tone I have ever heard “DON’T MOVE”. “DON’T MOVE. I WILL SHOOT YOU.” My heart started racing and I froze. For a minute I was sure I had imagined it (early morning, moms don’t sleep much anyways, …). But then he repeated those same words in that same tone.
I called 911. An angel named Ashley talked to me. I was too scared to move at first. Then the Training kicked in. I grabbed the baby and Maggie and headed for the closet in my bedroom. I locked three doors between us and the “downstairs” on the way. Charlotte was on the other end of the house. There was no way I could get to her. I just prayed over and over that she wouldn’t be scared and that he wouldn’t come upstairs. I found all the ways I could barricade the door and everything around I could use to protect us. The training was powerful!
I was trying not to throw up hiding in the closet, clutching my babies very tight. I was angry that the 911 lady kept making me respond. I wanted to be silent so I could hear if someone was coming. It seemed they were taking an eternity to come. “Why was it taking them so long?” I kept pleading with her to ask them to hurry. I’m sobbing silently, shaking and trying to simultaneously convince M we were playing a fun “practice your hiding” game. She was even doing such a great job. All while trying not to hurl or pass out.
Ashley told me when the police arrived. Then she told me they were walking around the outside. It still felt like forever. She finally asked if there was a way to get in. So, I told her how. The next thing I heard was that it was ok to hang up that they were there. I stayed hiding until there was a knock on the closet door (my locks had been foiled). It was….”the man”…the one I’m married to. He had a strange look on his face. I was terrified. I asked if the intruder was gone. He didn’t say anything and just said “the police are here and they want to talk to you”. I asked repeatedly if he was sure it was safe for us to come downstairs. It was 17 minutes from the time I called until the time he knocked. That’s the Longest. Time. Ever.
I come downstairs, still clutching two kids tightly to find roughly 7 officers in our kitchen. I start asking questions rapid fire style, like only a concerned mother can do. No one answers any of them. I panic a little more.
Because, apparently “the man” fell asleep on the remote control and the weather radar channel (without audio) was on. He hit the vol up button in his sleep (a lot) and then hit the channel button at some point. Apparently, it turned to a crime show at an extremely unfortunate time. They explained this to me no less than 5 times before I even heard the words they were saying. Oh. Oops. Big big big oops. I was so embarrassed and apologized profusely to the officers for wasting their time and resources and pulling them away from real emergencies. They assured me that they would much rather come protect me and my babies from the TV than have me wonder if I should call or not in a real emergency. They were so kind. One gave me a hug when he would see me shaking uncontrollably. I’m so incredibly thankful to live in a community with amazing police officers who keep us safe from all threats (real and perceived) without making me feel dumb. So thankful.
M got some high 5’s from the officers for her great hiding work (see, they are amazing people) and thought it was really cool that we had real police officers in our house.
C – slept through the whole thing and refused to believe M that any of this happened (she’s known to tell a good story – like most 5 year olds). Relieved.
I go to drop C off at latchkey and our neighbor is standing there on the phone with another neighbor and the woman at the desk is also a neighbor. He asks me if I’d seen all the police cars and if everyone was ok — and did I know what house it was for? I thought HARD about pretending I had no clue what he was talking about — but I couldn’t. I said yes, everyone was fine. He dropped the phone and waited for the story. So I told it. And he lost his mind laughing. And called back the other neighbor, who also lost his mind laughing. Yep.
I was still shaking at the end of the work day. I ended up having to tell my first hour students what had happened because they kept saying “you are not alright”. Kids always know. They got a good laugh and we went on learning properties of circles.
To hear “the man” tell it is quite different. From his perspective…he was watching TV & thinking about running when the door opened and he heard “police”. He laughed and said “yeah, right”, convinced it was a neighbor playing a joke. Then there were so many officers and he was so confused. He said “hey fellas, you want some coffee?” Because he’s an awesome guy like that.
I immediately recognized two of the officers as school police liaison officers – though not the ones who trained me two days before. I prayed they wouldn’t remember me. It seemed to work….until today. One of the officers came in to our school for a extra support for the seniors last day “just in case” because, as I mentioned, they are incredible. He was chatting with a friend and he looked at me and said “you look familiar”. So, I had been found out. I blurt out “you came to the house when I called on my husband”. Except that wasn’t at all what I meant. He said “oh, well that happens a lot” and tried to change the subject. I corrected myself “No, I mean I called 911 on the TV!” And he chuckled and admitted he definitely remembered that call. See, I’m memorable after all! Since that day, I have mentally prepared for all kinds of traumatic events that could happen in my home, including contingency plans for C, the only kid who sleeps in her bed.
We cut cable, and are trying to think up ways to thank our police department. They really are extraordinarily people.
So there you have it. You, too, can use emergency lockdown training at home! Just…don’t sleep on the remote!!
The next blog post will detail where the quote below came from and why it holds such significance in my life.
“The answer is never to love less. “