When you live out in the country and have three small kids, you worry about things. In the winter, I worry about fire. When I was pregnant with Margot, I used to lie awake making escape plans...Violet, who was one at the time, would be strapped onto my back. Jude, age three, would hang onto my neck. I'd shimmy down sheets tied together. Forget the fact that I was 8 months pregnant at the time. In my imagination, I gained superhuman upper body strength, and catlike agility.
When my husband is away for a night or two, I make sure all the windows are locked, double check the doors, and often dial my neighbour's number, then hit "end", just so I can hit "redial" if there's an emergency.
I'm not actually a paranoid person, generally. There's something about living way out of town, though, combined with exhaustion, that does things to my mind.
Last night, for some reason, my neighbour's number just didn't seem like enough. So I thought I'd dial 911, then hit "end". Because dialling "redial" is SO much quicker than dialing 911.
Did you know that 911 connects automatically, even if you hit "end"? I didn't.
Almost immediately, I got a call from OPP dispatch. They were going to send a car out, in spite of my assurances that all was well (aside from the fact that my husband left his three children in the care of a slightly delusional woman who calls herself "mom").
While this may seem like overkill, I find it reassuring that the police check in, even if the caller has confirmed that the call was accidental. Imagine a woman in a situation of domestic abuse, being threatened by her partner to tell the dispatcher that everything was fine.
Within 30 minutes, a cruiser pulled into our laneway (it was now about 11:30 at night). The floodlight scanned the farm (I'm sure the neighbours were wondering if I was being busted for late-night crafting), and the officer approached the house cautiously.
I came out on the porch in my shawl, and introduced myself. The officer is also a mother, and sympathised with the fact that I'm on my own with three kids for a few days. She took a look around the house, reassured me that yes, 911 does work, (and quickly, even if you don't speed dial it!), and told me she was nearby if I did really need her during the night.
I almost called at 5:30 a.m. when Jude woke up with a nosebleed.
And again at 6:15 a.m when my kids woke up for the day.
It may be time to store a baseball bat under my bed, to give me peace of mind when I'm here alone at night. If that doesn't suffice, I know that the OPP will be here if I ever need them.