Sunday, October 28, 2007

When safety is compromised

I've always been the type of person who can spot even the smallest thing out of place. Not just where the journal was resting in my bedroom, but its precise angle displaying evidently, to me, if someone had been reading it. I recall putting a piece of paper on the top of our door when I was a latchkey kid in fourth grade to make sure no strangers had entered the house after I left for school.

So, that crazy January of 2006, the one when a team of surgeons and doctors and other onlookers, cut my two babies out of my stomach, was no different.

We had been home just two weeks and in those two weeks I can still count the number of hours of sleep we had. Not much. Not much at all. A wink here. A wink there. I might have slept nursing or trying to nurse. I might have slept holding them; I know I slept holding them.

That Wednesday of our second week home, (or was it Thursday), I had gone up to bed early -- around 1 a.m. -- for some much-needed sleep. Da! was manning the double dose of No-Doze. Around 3 a.m., he finally managed to get them settled and back into their cribs in their room, just a step or two away from ours. I can't remember now why they were in their cribs at that point, but they were.

I don't remember him coming to bed. I only remember waking at 4:30 a.m. to the sound of a baby crying, groggily getting out of bed and walking to her and grabbing her. We went downstairs for a bottle.

As I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs, I noticed the basement door wide open, with the basement light on. Odd, I thought. But, maybe The Da! did it. Turned again, this time the other way, and that's when my world turned upside down. That's when my heart flipped and flopped. That's when I've never been more afraid in my entire life.

All of our kitchen drawers were open -- not far enough to pull out the can opener or the box of plastic wrap. No. Far enough for a desperate hand to wriggle in to find something of value.

I didn't waste a single second. I ran upstairs and woke up The Da! and told him he needed to go downstairs, that he needed to see if he left everything the way it was left. He want straight to the basement, and for the longest time I heard nothing from him as I waited at the top of the stairs.

"Should I call the police?" I yelled to him.

"Yes," is all he said.

For days -- no, weeks -- all I could think about was the fact that that cat burglar was still in my house when my baby cried, when my footsteps could be heard penetrating through our old beauty of a house. Was he down there, hiding, when I was down there? I'll never know.

All I know is that he took nothing of value. It was all upstairs swaddled in yellow and pink blankets. Those bundles of joy spent the next couple months in our room.

But, he took my safety away. He took my sense of safety and he tossed it away along with my pocketbook and my cell phone.

In the end, he might have gotten a Target gift card. We think he's in jail now, where he should be, but he's never been charged with burglarizing my home when my infant twins were just two weeks old.

I'm writing this post in honor of the topic of safety and fear, which I had my writing students address last week, and which ties nicely into the fact that lovely Bella has awarded me with a very special gift of being a Courageous Blogger.

I now nominate Mama Dharma because she recently did the unthinkable and quit her job to try and be a full-time, single mom. I'm also sending this along to Laura, a twin mom who gives Real Simple Magazine a hand slap for a very good cause. Congrats, ladies!

Anybody want to share a courageous -- or not so much -- moment?


Anonymous said...

Chillingly told; made me braver just to finish the post. Mighty pen!

bella said...

this was chilling and scary and made my heart pound.
I cannot imagine what that must have felt like, that moment.
superb writing.
And I think you are very couragous, for lots of reasons and in so many ways.

LauraC said...

Thank you thank you thank you! This prodded me to write a long-needed post... an answer to the ever-present twin mom question - "You don't want any more kids?! Are you SURE?"

Leah said...

Whoa. Thank YOU for the courage to share your vulnerability in this way -- your writing took my breath away. And thanks also for nominating me for the award! It is such an honor to be part of this beautiful tribe of momma bloggers :)

Wendy said...

Oh my! I know it may sound trite, but I really DO know what it's like to have your sense of safety pulled out from under you.

Wishing you peace,

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

How scary! Glad everyone ended up safe and sound.