People like to remind me that it’s not about the stuff.
I know that. I’m grateful, beyond words, that it was juststuff.
But I suspect that the people who are so quick to say that have never actually had their homes turned upside by burglars, known gang members, when they dared to leave the house for just one hour.
They probably haven’t walked into a three year old boy’s bedroom to find that drawers were searched, toy baskets turned over, and about thirty dollars stolen. Each of those dollars sent by a grandparent on the other side of the country.
They probably haven’t walked into a five year old girl’s bedroom to find that drawers were searched, the same amount of money was stolen, and little girl necklaces (purchased by another grandparent on the other side of the country) were stolen.
And they probably never had to see their own bedrooms in a complete state of disarray with almost everything stolen…including a ring, worthless to anyone else but priceless to me, that belonged to my father. My last little piece of him that I could wear whenever it felt right. A little piece that I could pass on to my daughter…so that she would have something that belonged to the grandfather she never met. Gone. Forever.
No, I suspect that most people haven’t had to pick up these pieces and just move forward.
And I know in my heart that it is not at allabout the stuff.
Computers, iPads, pearls, and watches…these things can be replaced over time.
What they truly stole from us are things that we will never reclaim.
Stolen is our feeling of safety in our quaint little beach town.
Stolen is my belief that I am safe and protected when my husband travels.
Stolen is our love of this home and community. The one place that finally felt like home to us.
Stolen is our children’s belief in the goodness of people. Because people, as it turns out, aren’t actually that good.
Stolen is the innocence of our sweet little children. A piece of their childhood is gone forever.
Stolen is the feeling of calm that once surrounded our home.
Stolen is a breath of fresh air from an open window.
Yes, the three people who broke in through a window left open just a tiny crackthat Monday morning stole so much more from us than stuff.
They stole our belief in humanity. They stole our sense of safety. They stole the innocence of our children.
Raise your children better.
Teach them right from wrong.
Hold them accountable for their actions.
And help them understand that there is always, absolutely always, another way…even if it seems like there isn’t.
The stuff can be replaced…but the as for the rest? That remains a work in progress.
(I do miss that ring though…)
Katie is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist/Parenting Expert in Los Angeles, CA. She has a four year old daughter, three year old son, and a rock and roll husband who makes her life complete. Katie has a parenting advice blog, Practical Parenting, and can also be found on Twitter.