I was just leaving the house with Little Biker Boy to buy him a birthday present — I’d decided to let him pick out his own present this year — when we discovered that freezing rain had sealed the car shut. I tried every door, but none of them would budge.
“This is terrible!” Little Biker Boy screamed. He ran around and around the car, periodically stopping to kick the metal. Kicking the car did no good whatsoever, especially since he wasn’t even kicking at the doors, but it served to help vent his anger.
Little Biker Boy isn't a patient kid even on his best days, and he’d been having a bad week. Vacations are tough for him. School is a safe place with a consistent routine, filled with teachers and counselors who know how to handle him. A week in his mother’s apartment left him filled with frustration and anger, two emotions he does not handle well.
“Why did you let Shaggy Hair Boy take your car?” he yelled. “Now we can’t go to the store!” He yanked on the door handle, but it didn’t move.
I’ve had frozen car doors before, and I knew we’d get them open eventually. In my old station wagon, I used to just open the hatch in the back and crawl to the front. I tried to think of what I could use to thaw the locks out. A hair dryer and an extension cord might work, if we owned a hair dryer, which we don’t.
The cold wind whipped my hair into my face. I didn’t have the energy to handle both Little Biker Boy and the frozen locks. I brought him back into the warm house.
Boy in Black was already putting on his boots and coat. “I don’t care what you have to do,” I muttered to him. “Just get the doors open.”
It was a bad start to the afternoon, but thankfully, Boy in Black was able to pry open a door and get the car started. Our first stop was the pizza place. “It’s our tradition,” Little Biker Boy said. I kept the car running so that the doors would thaw, while he went in to buy a couple slices of pizza, and we sat in the warm car, eating and talking. Once he’d told me about his week and calmed down, we went to the toy aisle of a big store, where he debated for a long time before choosing a remote control car, some plastic wrestling figures, and a basketball.
By the time we returned to the house, his mood was calmer. I built a fire while he tested his car out in the living room, the hall, and then outside in the yard. It was dark before I said to him, finally, “I have to take you home now.”
He looked out into the driveway hopefully. “Maybe the doors will be frozen shut, and I’ll have to stay here.”