Being burglarized shortly after becoming a single parent of two young children might not seem like a miracle. At the time, it was not what crossed my mind at all either. Until all the details unfolded:
I divorced when my kids were very young. The oldest was two, my baby, was - well – a baby, an infant. I’d known before she was born it was likely but hoped he’d have a change of heart and realize the impact his choices would have. He didn’t.
My concern and primary responsibility was and always has been my children – though all that is surely another story.
I’d outgrown providing daycare in my home and had to return to working outside the home.
Having been in bank management and the banking industry overall since I was 19, I thought it would be easy to go back. It wasn’t. I no longer wanted the long hours or commute I’d always had, and I was determined to keep my small family in a real home. I did not relish apartment living that would never get us anywhere. I also had likely made the poor choice of marriage partners to escape a less than ideal family situation for me, so I definitely did not want to move back in with my parents as so many people kept suggesting.
I needed to follow a rigid schedule, no matter how tired or exhausted I was.
We all misplace keys or forget where we set our purse. Some friends thought it OCD-ish but with young children and the yet undiagnosed Aspergers I put huge importance on always putting things in the same place.
A new busy schedule, up ultra-early to shower, get both kids ready, feed them and get them to daycare, before heading to work at a bank nearby.
My bedroom/master bath had the door that went to the garage in that home. I had a hook on the bathroom wall for my keys – and oddly enough, left my purse in the car overnight. I rarely needed anything out of it once I was inside my home, and disliked having to look for it once we were ready to leave. Nor did I want to worry that anything got taken out of it and left AT home.
This particular evening was uneventful up until bedtime. We had dinner, bedtime stories, the usual … except that my daughter woke up at about 3:AM and would not go back to sleep. So I brought her to my room as I often did, to sleep with me. She had just fallen asleep when I heard the familiar padding of footed jammies.
My son – who had outgrown wanting to sleep anywhere but his own big boy bedroom long, long ago, was there too, standing next to my bed. Uncharacteristically fussy, upset and refusing to go back to bed.
Come on, I said, get in here with us and be quiet I said.
He did, though he kept looking over at me with a worried eye.
Beyond exhausted – I slept. The next thing I knew, it was morning and time to get up and start the day. I quietly slipped out of bed to let them both sleep longer until I had showered.
With all the lights in the house still off, I walked into my bathroom and felt the flicker of panic.
Had I overslept?
I could see daylight peeking in from the crack in the door on the right between the bathroom and the garage.
I absentmindedly pushed it all the way closed, thinking to myself, I do not like when I leave the door ajar, especially at night. Even though it ‘only’ goes to the garage, I like it closed and locked.
A few steps away, I realized – even if it were midday, when the sun is bright I should not be seeing daylight through the crack in my door!
I walked back and opened it to discover that the overhead garage door was open.
Oh goodness! That might have been ok when that accidentally happened when we had long ago first moved into that city. It used to be a rural, most air force community.
I reached out and pushed the wall mounted controller to close it, then closed and locked the entry door.
Just over an hour later, we were all three ready for the day. As we headed back towards my bedroom to the garage, my son asked me, mama, was grandma here last night?
Oh no son, did you dream she was?
My children love their grandparents. I have pretty amazing parents in fact. When I said I had a less than ideal situation to escape, it was likely the Aspergers getting in the way of a more normal relationship between me and my parents. Not knowing and always having flown by the seat of my pants I just thought it was time to leave home.
Before I digress however, my son replied – no, I thought I saw grandma here last night, standing in the doorway.
He pointed to the door I was about to reach for. The door that had been ajar when I first got up that morning.
My brain startled, but my body working on auto-pilot, we continued out the door, only to stop when I reached for my keys and they were not there.
There is no way I did not hang them there.
With two young children I would never have risked leaving them lay around where anything could happen to them. And I NEED the consistency of knowing where things are. Still – no keys.
The kids were already in the garage and my other hand was opening the overhead door when things started to click. As they climbed in the car, I looked around.
First I noticed that the blue bag towngate cleaners provided me so that I could just toss my dry cleaning in their door was gone. An odd thing perhaps, but it hung right by my door.
Who would take my dirty dry cleaning and why?
By this time, the kids were in the car, climbing into their car seats. I walked over to buckle my daughter in and stepped on a cassette tape. Huh? I take good care of my tapes. (Yes, cassette tape. It was the 90’s.)
I picked it up, still not fully aware – then spun around.
The lawnmower was not there. Nor was the edger, weed whacker… any of the garage tools.
Even my fabulous as my still small-enough son called it ridey-vacuum cleaner was not there.
I had been burglarized. Good grief, I just now realized this?!?!
Burglarized right down to the Christmas presents from my ex to the kids which I’d had to meet him in a nearby city to get, and had left in the trunk so that they would not be tempted to want to open – and - so that they would not be upset wondering why they did not get to see their dad.
Entering massive panic mode but knowing I wanted to keep the kids calm, I said, hey, let’s get back out of the car and go inside.
Despite already understanding I’d been robbed in the night, I reached in the front door to get my purse. My daytimer was in my purse, which meant phone book (90’s! 90’s! pre-cell phones). Uh – oops, what WAS I thinking? No purse.
Fighting back the impulse to cry I closed the car door and looked at the little silver-ish car. This was not even my car I thought, yes – feeling stupidly sorry for myself.
I used to have a terrific Mercury Cougar XR7 turbo 3.8L V6, all leather interior …. Sigh, inefficient for two car seats, I now drove my mom’s old discarded camry. Yes, I was grateful to have it when she got a new one, I just sometimes wondered how this happened.
Inside the house we went. I telephoned work, then the police. I could have still taken the kids to daycare, but a day home with them was an awesome treat, no matter what the circumstances, so home together we stayed, waiting to make a police report. Compiling a detailed list of what was missing … and all the while, refusing to show outwardly the immense alarm and fear that was bubbling inside me.
But hear me they could. My son walked over while the police officer was walking through with me and asked? Who did I see standing in the door last night then? A bad lady who took our things? She didn’t look bad. I thought it was grandma.
I gulped. Had the burglars entered our home as we slept? If my son had seen them, they had seen him and all three of us, as my bed is visible from the doorway.
I had to tell myself it mattered not. We were all safe and now. I just had the mechanics of the situation to deal with. Get the locks changed. Make sure I listed everything for the insurance company – this, by the way, is when I lost possession of the only good pair of sunglasses I’d ever owner, my cherished Vuarnet’s.
Friends and co-workers helped us immensely. Providing dinner, bringing replacement Christmas gifts for the kids and lending emotional and spiritual support. Likely they could see better than I could, that I was on the verge.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later, as the three of us were lying on a blanket in the family room, reading together, that the miracle hit me.
My son turned the page of a book a friend had given me to lift my spirits. He said, mama – there’s the lady I saw.
What lady son? As I looked to see what he was pointing to.
The lady that was standing in the doorway the night bad people took our things.
I looked. And smiled as tears began to stream down my cheeks.
The book; Angels, by Caroline Johnson. I fought the urge to tell him that it didn’t look anything like my mom. I knew though, the way I know now when I feel the spirit, that he’d seen something good and virtuous – and that it had not been there to harm us or steal from us. Rather, it’s presence had likely kept anyone else from entering our home, keeping us safe and preventing us from further misfortune.
And I think any encounter with an angel in this earthly journey is a miracle.