So my friend Christen and I went to the mall on Wednesday.

…along with our two strollers and five kids.

…ages 4, 3, 2, 10 months, and 8 months.

(Each child, by the way, adds degree of difficulty points in the classical mall game Avoid the Kiosk Predators.)

We began by eating Chick-Fil-A – our standard diet.  Amazingly, everyone ate, no one spilled a drink, and no one cried.

A good day, indeed.

Then we decided to treat the kids to playtime on the Hot Dog Truck, a fond place with many memories.

But first, we headed back to Chick-Fil-A for drink refills.  Mammas need their caffeine.

Fully armed and ready to take our parade o’ crazy upstairs, we rounded the corner to the elevators and pushed the button.

The doors dinged, so we and our impressive entourage headed toward it.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another woman also headed our way.  It was one of those awkward moments where you’re not sure if she was waiting before you, and whether or not you should pause and allow her the elevator right-of-way.

But I didn’t.

(At the time, it seemed that trying to stop our herd to allow her through would take longer than simply allowing the momentum to continue and then let her board after us.)

(This was a wrong assumption.)

Aubrey, the two year old, made it onto the elevator first.

Luke, the three year old, was behind her.

Ali was somewhere, but I don’t quite know where.

Christen and I made the mistake of both pushing our strollers toward the elevator at the same time, thereby blocking either of us from being able to reach said destination.

Then the doors began to close.

Aubrey inside,

Luke IN the doorway.

Christen yelled and lunged for the button.

She didn’t make it, but the doors sensed Luke and stopped.

Then we both tried to board again.

At the same time.

(I take full responsibility for this awkward moment of stroller blockage, seeing as how it was her children on the elevator, and mine was nowhere in sight.  CLEARLY, I should have backed off.)

(Unfortunately, these sorts of thoughts don’t happen to me in the appropriate split seconds.)

The doors began to close.

Aubrey inside,

Luke, puzzlingly, still in the doorway.

Luke jumped back out of the elevator, and the doors sealed shut.

Aubrey was still inside, and about to take her first solo trip in the glass elevator.

This time, Christen jammed her stroller into the doors, yelling for her two year old, or at the doors, or something.

Levi, the baby in said stroller, began squealing in protest of being made into a human barricade.

(And he has quite the impressive mall-shaking squeal, might I add.)

The Lady also wanting to board the elevator – oh, she was still there, looking on in horror.

Christen managed to make it to the button just in time to make the doors reopen.  Since she was at the button and not driving her stroller, I hurriedly jammed Noah and my stroller into the elevator doorway, trying to prevent a charming third event.

When I got halfway through the doors, they began to close (thereby winning the award for MOST OVERAMBITIOUS ELEVATOR DOORS EVER), this time catching my cupholder in the melee, which crunched and knocked out my freshly refilled Large Unsweet Tea.  I watched in horror as my drug of choice dropped and rapidly leaked into the elevator shaft, doorway, elevator, mall floor, my shoes, and everywhere else it could possibly seep.

I left my only son jammed in the elevator doorway, picked up my abusively deformed caffeinated beverage, and ran to the nearby trash can, dripping all the way.

When I got back, God must have caused one of those cool time-freezing moments like he did a couple times in the Old Testament, because we managed to actually get two strollers, five children, and two Mammas through the elevator doors.

I held the “Doors Open” button with an especially firm fingertip as we counted our brood.

And then I saw The Lady – still standing in front of the elevator, looking a bit awestruck.

“Um, do you still want to get on with us?  It may or may not be safe.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Are you SURE??”

She delicately stepped over my ice and tea and squeezed herself between Christen’s stroller and the wall, looking warily at each of the children surrounding her as if they were an encroaching brigade of rabid paramilitary.

And then we rode up, pretending to be dignified, totally together, in-control Moms.

I don’t think she bought it.

24 thoughts on “The Elevator Incident.

  1. Now that would have been something to see!

    One time Rebekah and I were at the McWane Center and her five year old got on the elevator by himself and disappeared. Very scary to say the least. I don’t think he has ever done that one again.

  2. On a family trip to Boston last summer my then-three-year-old son got on an elevator ahead of my mom who was babysitting him. Doors closed. Mom got a security guard and they called the elevator back. When the doors opened he wasn’t on it. Did I mention said elevator was in a hotel? With a convention center? Attached to a mall???? Security was putting the hotel on lockdown when Mom saw him getting off another elevator with a lady taking him to the front desk. Luckily, he had gotten off somewhere and found her and asked to find his Nona. Everything was fine when my husband and I got back and heard the story, but needless to say, he was REALLY good about holding someone’s hand the rest of the trip–at least until he ran under the security ropes at Logan Airport and through the security checkpoint. But that’s another story.

  3. Believe it or not, that actually happens quite often. A bit of advice though, if you guys are here around Christmas, avoid those elevators! For the entire month of December, I bring my lunch to work and avoid the mall like the plague! One of my coworkers waited 20 minutes for an elevator to become free so she could get back into the tower. (Me, I would’ve taken the stairs)

    1. Also – I forgot to mention – when we got in the elevator, the 3rd floor button was lit up. So Aubrey would have taken a ride all the way up to the office tower, rather than staying in the mall, and we wouldn’t have known it!!

      And yes, they are terrible at Christmastime. I agree.

  4. I would loved to have been a fly in the elevator watching the play take place. Just seeing it in my mind has made me have a great laugh as I am supposed to being paying bills.

  5. And to add to the craziness… the elevator is glass. The food court onlookers probably witnessed the whole thing as well.

    Seriously though, it’s not like there is ONLY 1 elevator. Could the misfit lady not just wait 2.5 seconds to get on the other elevator and leave your crazy brood to recover?

    P.S. Elevator doors freak me out! I just know that I’m going to have the doors begin to close, only to discover that the sensor is broken… eek!

  6. I had an experience kinda like that. Except it was at an airport and involved just me and my children and copious amounts of luggage to get stuck trying to all smush onto the elevator at the same time. Elevators are sporadically evil.

  7. I feel your embarrassed, harassed and bemused pain! At our botanical gardens, I broke the elevator door trying to prevent them from closing on my 5 yr old (alone) thus stranding the poor boy alone in a stuck elevator. Security had to come and rescue us. It was a bright shining moment of stellar mommyness!

    1. I’m impressed with your breaking abilities!! Although I’m sorry that y’all ended up on opposite sides of said elevator. That sounds like quite a story!

  8. Oh my! I had a nerve-wracking experience at a mall with my willful little guy (about 3 at the time), a stroller with his little sister and my friend with her 2 kids. We NOW know to have 1 adult go on first and the other bringing up the rear. My guy got on the elevator and took a solo ride down 1 floor… the parking garage. With LOTS of speeding traffic. Those doors were illegally fast!!!!! I’ve never run down stairs so fast in my life!!

  9. OMG LOVE this story, I was having a bad day and it totally made me laugh out loud…. totally indicative of what it’s like to be a mom and deal with one’s children everyday. It truly is the most challenging job ever, one can never master the title of “mom” as the challenges continue to evolve…

  10. You’ll laugh, but all I can say is that I’m glad it wasn’t sweet tea! And that y’all were able to keep the kids from taking a solo trip. How scary!

  11. Even though I was there experiencing the whole thing, I laughed out loud the whole time I read this! I sent it to my mom & sisters who then sent it on to several other family members. My mom commented that you are an awesome writer!
    If we dare ever try to ride the elevator again together we should take April’s advice to get one adult safely on the elevator and everyone else follow after :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *