Casey and Jamie were about 6 years old or so. They were adventurous but none the less knew the difference between right and wrong (in this case anyway). The girls were in the family room, supposedly watching TV and I was in the laundry room folding laundry. All was silent which might otherwise have signalled trouble…. I heard the phone ring so I walked into the family room which was now empty. I noticed the girls on the porch appearing to be whispering to each other. I should have known then that something was up.
A nice woman on the other end of the phone asked me if there were children in the house….
The next thing this nice lady said was, “This is the operator. Your children have just dialled 9-1-1.”
Upon command, the girls reluctantly dragged themselves back into the family room and admitted to their caper…. All I could imagine were trooper cars careening down my street with sirens wailing and breaks screeching and troopers banging at my door. Hoping that she would believe me, I tried to assure the 9-1-1 operator that all was indeed well in the house and that there was no emergency. I assured her that I would speak to the girls about the proper use of 9-1-1.
ALthough our girls were very much alike in many ways, there was also a very beautiful and unique side to each personality. A perfect teachable moment: Before I could utter even a syllable, Jamie had burried her head in the sofa and was sobbing almost uncontrollably. Meanwhile, her poised cousin Casey was sitting upright with a smile and eagerness written all over her face. I imagined my inquisitive and precocious niece thinking, “So Aunt Janice, what might you have to say about this?”
I smile every time I reflect back on the image of Jamie sprawled across the sofa, crying her eyes out even before I could say a word, and Casey, stoic and unmoved by the entire situation waiting patiently for me so speak.