The Magic Key FOB*

“Run,” my husband shouts as I fumble for the keys. A sudden wind brings the scent of rain and hastens my step.

lightning golf

            “Mama, me, mama!” the toddle mumbles as he reaches for the keys.

I wiggle them in the air and switch the tot to my other hip. “You know, this is the first car I’ve had with one of these buttons.”  I press and the car lights flash.  “Magic.”

old key fob

            “Me, mama,” he says again as he reaches for the keys, the rain begins to fall quickly.

“Okay,” I whisper with winded breath and hand Flynn the keys. I gently place him in his car seat.  “You can’t get wet here.”

matt age 1

            “Hey,” a voice calls from somewhere behind me. “Open the trunk.”

The sound of cleats on pavement gradually grow louder while clubs clank together with the rhythm of each step.

“Yeah, hold on. I hate rental cars, I can never find the right buttons.” I close the rear door and slide my hand onto the driver’s handle.

Click, all four locks slam closed at once. My stomach sinks as I pull the handle upwards. My eyes widen and I try again. Panicked, I pull once more on the handle. The door is locked.  All the doors are locked.

I look at my one-year-old. He smiles at me and waves the keys before gently putting them back into his gummy mouth. Rivulets of rain race down the window between us.

“Are you going to open the trunk?” My husband asks again.

“Ah, we have a problem.”

“Ah, what type of problem do we have?” He sets his clubs on the ground and places his hand on the trunk in anticipation of its unlatching.

“It’s kinda like a ‘Houston we have a problem’ problem.”

He tips his head around the back of the car and looks at me. I sheepishly grin in response.

“The doors are locked.”

“What do you mean, ‘the doors are locked’?”

Pointing my child in the car seat, I said “He locked the doors.”

“How did he do that?” Will glances into the backseat to see his only child teething on the key FOB.

“Flynn,” he says while he taps on the window. “Bite.” Will smiles and pretends to bite on a set of imaginary keys.

Flynn holds the keys out and smiles in return.

Will turns and looks at me again. There’s a large pool of water sitting on the crown of his baseball cap. He grits his teeth. I shrug. Flynn waves.

We gaze at each other from opposite sides of the car. Will wiggles his fingers through a small crack between the window and the door frame.

“Dammit.” His look is menacing.  “See if you can put your hand through here,” Will says while gesturing towards the passenger door.

I wipe the rain from my eyes and walk around the car. The one inch space is thick enough for my palm, but not my arm. “Nope.”

“Dammit,” Will shouts louder and begins to root through his bag, throwing golf balls and gloves onto the flooding asphalt. “I’m going to the clubhouse.”

golf ball wet

            I watch as Will stomps through puddles away from the car. Flynn laughs and points to me.  I return the laugh and point to Will. “He’s really mad,” I say as if the youngster understands our dilemma.

Minutes later, Will returns with the club valet, who manages to unlock the door and swing it open.

Will looks at me with a lecture on his tongue. But I start first.

“At least Flynn is dry.” I smile as I try to stop my shirt from clinging to my body.

I trade the keys for a rattle and smirk at my husband.  I pop my head over the roof of the car and add, “And now we know his first tooth has arrived.”

 alison and matt in pool

*Names have been changed to protect the “innocent”.

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