At about 4:30 this morning Luke and I were hurtling from our beds, adrenaline already flowing through our bodies. Bodies that had been in deep, deep sleep just seconds before. Without saying a word to each other we split at our doorway each heading for a separate little girl. Both of us yelling reassurances over the constant squealing of the fire alarms to our frightened little girls frozen with fear in their beds.
I shuffled the girls down the stairs towards their shoes. Alarms throughout the house were blaring. Delaney was whimpering and refusing to let me put her down to put shoes on her feet. Madeline, tears streaming down her face, repeated over and over “I don’t want a fire in my house, I don’t want a fire in my house.”
“It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s going to be alright girls,” came out of my mouth on a continuous loop. I cupped their cheeks with my hands, and brushed hair from their faces, helped them get shoes on their feet. The house seemed fine. The alarms were blaring in every room, but everything seemed fine. There was no smoke. There was no fire that we could see. No noticeable emergency. The girls and I were ready to head out the door into single digit temperatures if we needed, but it simply didn’t seem like we were in danger. After a quick peek through the house Luke made quick eye contact with me as he came through the kitchen. His eyes mirrored back my thoughts that everything seemed fine. After a more thorough look it seemed the only answer to our early morning adrenaline shot was a faulty fire alarm.
After the noise stopped, the girls went back to their beds seeking the comfort of their quilts and stuffed animals. Luke and I tucked them in and then tried to get another hour of sleep before our alarms would sound for the intended start of our day. We laid there tossing and turning, not able to still our minds enough to sleep. So we made plans to take the girls to breakfast.
It was a rude awakening, but we’re safe. My family is safe. In those seconds of confusion as we hurtled from our bed there was no thought of anything but our girls. Neither of us gave second thought to a single possession. The only thing that mattered was the four of us. Since I know we’re safe and sound I can look at it and say this morning’s fire alarm was a good reminder that all the things we accrue simply don’t matter. They’re unimportant. Just things. It was also a good reminder to check all of our fire alarms and replace many of them as they are probably past their life span and to remind Madeline about fire safety.
At breakfast the girls ordered chocolate chip pancakes and Luke and I drank our coffee and we were happy. Maybe because we were out to breakfast. Maybe because it’s Friday. But I’m pretty sure Luke and I were both feeling grateful we only had a fire drill in the middle of the night and not a real emergency.