I’m sure you weren’t thinking about how hard we work to pay bills in our household. Maybe you noticed the three booster seats in the back of the van when you broke the glass. That shattered everywhere. You probably didn’t care that I just vacuumed my van out yesterday. You probably didn’t think that when you grabbed our wallets and stole our car, you took something more meaningful. You stole a tiny bit of our children’s innocence. And you threatened their sense of safety. In their own home.
“Why would somebody do that?” One of my boys asked.
I wish I could find you and ask you the question, so that I could give my children an honest answer. A better answer than, “I don’t know.” I really don’t know. They heard me say cuss words. Because of you. They watched me cry and bang the counters with my fists this morning. Because of you. I’m sure you didn’t think about how today you taught my kids a cruel, sad lesson about life. People steal. Complete strangers can take important stuff from you. In your very own driveway. I’m sure you didn’t care much about our family. I’m sure you thought we have plenty. We can replace a car, right? I hope the smokes were good. Really good.
You sneak onto people’s property and take stuff that’s not yours. Big stuff. You have no idea what happens to families as a result of your behavior. You probably don’t care. The people who you rob can’t drive to their jobs. To make money to pay for what you’ve broken or stolen. You instill fear and hopelessness. I hate that you made me an emotional see-saw today. Alternating between feeling really, really pissed, like I want-to-hunt-you-down-so-you-can-look-at-my-face pissed, to feeling really, really sad for you. And your life. Maybe you feel remorse. Maybe you stole the car and our wallets to buy the smokes to sell them for some cash to buy some food for your family. Maybe. I would have rather you knocked on my door. And just asked me. I don’t want your kids to be hungry. Or even you.
I’m sorry for the choices that you’re making. I’m sorry for all the heartbreak you’ve caused. I’m sorry if you had a rough childhood. That made it hard. And lead you down a track with no outlet. I’m sorry if you face obstacles and feel like the way to tackle them is to steal from others. I’m sorry that it seems like we have more than you. And that you feel justified or entitled to our belongings. I’m sorry that we may see you in court one day. And that you may go to jail for this.
I want you to know that although you took a piece of my children’s innocence, you did not win today. The helpers taught my boys something much more meaningful than your cruel lessons. The encouragers surrounded us today. They are the ones who we will teach our boys to remember. Like the police officer who showed us great kindness and compassion. One of my sons recognized this. He said, “Mommy, he’s like a real super hero.” It’s true. Friends and family offered to drive us, to provide food for us, to care for us and to sympathize with us. They helped tame our outrage, anger and powerlessness into strength and courage. And even peace.
I think my boys will remember today. The broken glass. The missing car. Wallets. Stolen. What I believe and hope that they will remember most are the people who reached out, listened and wanted to turn something bad into something better. Giant love-filled bear hugs. They instilled hope. Encouraged strength. I pray that when my boys remember today that they will remember the helpers. Not you.