Mari was one of the most determined people I knew. While she may have had autism it didn’t ever stop her when she wanted to do something. The only problem with that is her safety awareness, while she was 8 years old, was that of about a toddler.
When she wanted to do something, it was amazing to see how she tried to accomplish it, of course, almost always after the fact is when I’d find out what her little determined mind decided she was going to do.
One of the memories, that now brings a smile to my face yet at the time freaked me out, is the day I was sitting at my desk in our living room when we lived in DeKalb. I’d been going about my business when out of the corner of my eye, all of a sudden I see this leg appear off the roof. Then I start to see another foot as well. I think my heart stopped in that moment. I sprinted out of the house as I was telling, or maybe urgently speaking with a raised voice, Mari, “Mari, no. Stop.” She sat on the roof and brought both of her legs up to herself. Keith was at work so I had no one to help me.
How was I supposed to get all the way upstairs to get her with no one watching her downstairs? I knocked on one neighbors door and no one answered. So I went to another neighbors door and a guy answered the door. I quickly explained about the urgent situation I was in. He agreed to watch Mari for me while I went upstairs to get her down. I went up to the bedroom she climbed through the window to get on the roof in and stuck my head out with my arms stretched before me. “Mari, sweetie, come to Mama.” I kept calling her to me and she eventually came. Man, I hugged her tight. She didn’t get on this room again, but man it was scary.
That is until, of course, when we had moved to Burbank that last six months she was alive. Mari was outside playing and I was sitting in the family room watching TV, I think. When all of a sudden I heard the prancing of feet dancing around above my head. My heart stopped again. She was up on the roof.
The family room used to be a one car garage that someone along the way had turned into a family room so it had almost a flat roof, using resources online, since there is a mortgage line of credit alternatives for your garage makeover so you can turn it into anything you want. The house also used to be more like two apartments, one downstairs with the other one up. The way to get into the apartment upstairs was this winding, wrought iron staircase that was in the backyard. Well, at the very top the slats were rather wide and Mari simply put her little body through the slats and got on the roof.
So to fix this little problem, Keith and I went to Home Depot and picked up chicken wire and wrapped it all around the bottom of the fence. It worked perfectly. Unfortunately for us, as I said, she’s one determined little girl. She wanted on that roof.
In our bedroom there is a window that leads directly right onto the roof. Normally, that wouldn’t be any big deal because all the windows in the house of screens which stops her. However, as you’ve probably already guessed, this one in particular window, the only one in the entire house, did NOT have a screen. So she unlocks it, lifts up the window and away she went dancing on the roof… again.
I was able to get her down with no problem, but man, she loved to give me those minor heart attacks. We had to put a double gate, one on top of the other, at the top of the stairs to keep her out from up there.
I could tell you more stories, but this post could go on for a long time. So maybe another day.
Have you ever had a freighting experience with one of your children or someone else you knew?