I believe those of us lucky enough to enjoy a sense of security in our homes tend to take that security for granted. It’s only when something shakes that tranquility that we appreciate how important it is.
Yesterday evening Oldest texted me that she’d returned home from lab to discover that the house she shares with two other students had been broken into. The kitchen was a mess, and she quickly noticed that her old Mac (she got a new one a year ago) was gone.
As the evening wore on, we kept in touch about what was happening. The police came to take fingerprints and make a report. Quite a few items belonging to her roommates were missing, as well – including, maddeningly, one girl’s important daily medications. Being forced to spar with her prescription “benefit” company to immediately get replacement meds ON TOP OF the blow of the burglary is the ultimate insult.
The three friends sat up late into the night discussing the violation and discovering more and more things that had gone missing. The last I heard they planned to camp out in the living room together overnight, because they all felt uncomfortable being alone in their own bedrooms – which had all contained a malicious stranger at some point yesterday.
I understand that fear. When I was in high school I was the first one to return home one day and found our house had been ransacked. The television was the most obvious item missing. But what hurt me the most was the loss of my bedside clock/radio. It wasn’t an expensive appliance by any means. But it had been my constant companion every night; it was an intimate part of my daily life. And some creep had been right there where I slept, talked with friends, and did homework every evening. It was several weeks before I could sleep through the night again.
On the lighter side of the issue, we had an annoying and expensive yet funny theft one summer when The Husband and I took the kids to Texas to visit my sister’s family. While parked near a nature reserve for an afternoon hike, someone smashed our van window and stole what I’m sure they thought was a purse. What they actually got was a nylon bag with a Velcro closure in which we put our trash when travelling. Meaning they got a handful of snotty Kleenexes and old snack wrappers. Ironically, I had left my purse under the back seat rather than carry it with me on the hike, but the creeps missed that. The good fortune of not losing my purse combined with imagining the thieves’ disappointment over their haul allowed us to handle the whole experience with good humor.
I leave tomorrow for my long-planned visit to Oldest, and it will seem a little odd to intrude on my daughter’s little household when they’re still reeling from the burglary. They’re all such busy, driven students I don’t imagine they’ll have time to do much clean-up (both from the intruder and from the fingerprint dust) before I arrive tomorrow. But maybe I can play a small role as a surrogate mom, a comforting presence, and an extra hand to help with the necessary cleaning. At the very least I can cook them a nice dinner to give them all a bit of a break. Mom goes on!