The day was gorgeous. It was the kind of summer day that keeps Minnesotans sane in the winter. You know the kind–where you forget about life and play hooky and drift off. Those days are NOT to be wasted, so I knew exactly where to go for mine.

Lake Calhoun.

My girls and I swam in the water, met new friends, joyously chased the ducks, and got sand everywhere. We left feeling refreshed, happy, and oh-so-excited to tell daddy about our adventures later because it was simply that kind of a day.

But oh, how things were about to change…

We walked back to my rental car (yep, that part is key….because this never would’ve happened in my car), and I swiftly put my 20-month-old in her carseat and nonchalantly threw my keys on the driver’s seat … like I always do … because, come on people, YOGA PANTS DON’T HAVE POCKETS!!

I then shut the door–like I always do–only this time, the doors locked. Automatically.

Did that just happen? I thought to myself.

I shuffled over to the driver’s side and discovered what I already knew to be true: Yes, the doors had locked . . . and then my stomach ate itself.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” I hit the car door in retaliation.

“What’s wrong, mama?” my middle daughter panted.

“I locked your baby sister in the car.”

Her eyes grew as massive as the pit was in my stomach.

“It’s going to be okay, though,” I lied. “It’s not that hot out.” (another lie) “I’ll just call the rental company….” which turned out to be completely unhelpful.

So then I called my husband. Who also turned out to be unhelpful because, “How did that happen?” is never useful when we go and do the incredulous, right? If I knew how this had happened I wouldn’t be calling you! Sigh.

So I called my dad.

“Dad,” I whimpered, as if I were 15 again, “I locked my baby in the car … and it’s hot out … and she’s scratching her eczema and her skin is bleeding everywhere and I don’t know what to do!!”

“Don’t worry, Jonna. I’ve got AAA.” And just like that, my dad had saved the day.

Only he hadn’t, because apparently AAA doesn’t cover something as ridiculous as locking your baby in the car. “That’s for the cops,” they said.


“911,” the dispatcher said.


“Where are you, ma’am?”

“32nd Street Beach at Lake Calhoun.”

“We’ll be there soon.”

Sweet relief! “We’re gonna get your baby sister out!” I shouted. “Let’s sing to her to make her feel better, okay?!”

Out came Baby Beluga, Wheels on the Bus, and Twinkle Twinkle like angels’ chords. We had leg kicks, arm shakes, jazz hand–the works. None of the stares would have even bothered me either had our song-and-dance numbers worked, but they didn’t. My child just sat there crying and scratching her eczema-riddled skin.

Help me! my insides wailed.

And then, FINALLY, the help arrived. Only it wasn’t a squad car they sent over. It was a BLAZING RED FIRE TRUCK, complete with flashing lights and all.

(This is when you laugh, people. Because you really can’t make this stuff up.)

Three giant fire fighters exited their steed and approached me. They took one look at my car and said, “We’re not gonna get her outta there without breaking a window.”

“What?! No!” I cried. “You can’t do that, it’s a rental!”

“Then I suggest you call a locksmith.”

Tears of defeat started rolling out my eyeballs after he said that, because I knew that the locksmith would take another hour to get there, and by that time my baby would be as red as the fire truck that had come to save her, or worse! Her skin would be scratched clean to the bone. So, again, I called my dad.

“Take a deep breath, Jonna,” he said. “Everything’s going to be fine. I’m praying for you.”

That’s right! PRAY!

I immediately dropped my phone on the grass and prayed with my daughter to have those firemen get that door open.

And they DID! … with a hanger!

“Ahhhhhh!!” I screamed. “Praise God!” I ran around the car and hugged each one of them.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I sobbed. “You’re an angel!” (SOB SOB)

“No problem, ma’am. You have yourself a good day.” And just like that, they were off with the tip of their hats.

So the moral of the story is:

  1. Don’t wear yoga pants. Moms need pockets. The end.
  2. Shame looks better on the dance floor. We all make mistakes, so stop “should-ing” on yourself and give yourself grace when you do the unthinkable.
  3. God loves you. He sees your pain. He knows your struggle, and he wants you to ask him for help!
  4. Prayer works! Sure it might not happen right away, but the power of prayer is our greatest weapon so remember to use it.
  5. Dads are awesome. (Firefighters, too). Remember to tell yours how awesome he is everyday, especially if your dad is a firefighter.

And in the end, always remember how strong God is in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). So let’s continue to show our children the power of this truth by running to him immediately after we do something ridiculous (like locking one of them in the car).