I debated many weeks over whether I should write about one of the worst days in my life. Some people said not to do it. Some said that maybe the lessons learned would help someone else. I decided to write about it, to not only help someone else, but to maybe bring healing to myself. Please hang with me, I promise my next post will be about blueberries.
I’m a traditional mom. I work in our home and raise our 2 children, ages 5 and 13. We live in a nice, quiet neighborhood in the suburbs. I never expected any trouble.
About 8 weeks ago, around lunch time, my oldest son, Nathan, came upstairs and let me know someone was knocking on the front door. I told him not to worry, it was probably a salesman, don’t answer the door. They will go away. I was preparing to jump in the shower when Nathan came back. He told me the person at the door was holding the door knob and shaking the whole door in its frame! I first thought maybe Nathan had misunderstood the situation. Then I realized something must be wrong. How do you misunderstand a shaking door? It took me about 5 seconds to race downstairs. I told Nathan, “Take your brother upstairs and if you hear me scream – dial 911!”
I looked outside the front door and saw no one. I looked on the street and saw a car I had never seen before in front of my neighbor’s house. A man sat in the driver’s seat. I took about 10 seconds to watch him and noticed he seemed nervous. He looked up and then down the street as if he was watching for someone. I immediately realized that something was wrong. I quickly ran from window to window looking outside for anyone that shouldn’t be there. Nothing. Nothing again. What about there? As I reached the window over our basement door, I saw a bag of tools lying in the grass. I didn’t immediately see a person. I pressed my nose against the window and saw a man at my basement door.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Someone was breaking into my house! In a single split second, primal instincts came flooding into me. Protect my children, protect my children, protect my children! I had no weapons and no time. I screamed, “Call the police!” I hoped Nathan had heard me. Then it occurred to me. Scream. Scream as loud as you can! They can’t make me shut up and I’ll be the loudest siren I can be hanging out of this window. I threw open the window and let it rip, adding a few curse words directed at them for good measure! The two men below me stumbled back away from the house and looked up at me in the window. I don’t know what they were thinking, but I can tell you the look on their face was one of utter amazement. They didn’t think any one was home. And I guess they were amazed at how loud I was. They scooped up their tool bag and ran as fast as they could. Out of my garden, through the gate, and into their getaway car. I ran from window to window as I watched them flee.
My heart was racing and I was drenched in sweat. I grabbed my cell phone and called my husband, out of breath I told him in one sentence what had happened. In one sentence, he told me, “I’m on my way!” Click. I found my children, hidden in a closet, on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. I tried my best to calm them and talk to the dispatcher on the phone. She immediately drilled me with every question you could think of, from what the men looked like to information concerning the car. She reassured me the police were on their way and asked if we were hurt. She was with my children while I tried to protect them. Thank God for 911 dispatchers. Whatever they are paid is not nearly enough. Thank God for police officers. One officer came directly to the house, while several others drove to nearby parking lots looking for the car I had just described to the dispatcher. One officer checked our basement for evidence and found they had broken a window trying to get in. Glass was everywhere! Police took photos of everything, even the footprints in the soft dirt at my garden gate. I appreciate everything the police did that day. We often don’t give them the thanks they deserve.
Needless to say, I was upset and kept thinking what would have happened had I got in the shower just a few minutes before or if Nathan had not heard them rattle the front door. I truly believe God protected my family that day and I’m so grateful. It has been difficult for my family to get past this horrible event. There have been many sleepless nights. My youngest runs upstairs any time someone rings our doorbell. I’m sure it will just take some time for us to feel safe again.
I know this post is not technically about gardening, but it did happen in my garden and I wanted to share it with you. The burglars have left my garden, but have not been erased from my mind. When I look outside I still see those men standing next to my flower bed. In the end, I’m glad nothing was taken and no one was hurt. We had to replace a window and clean up a lot of glass.
My family and I learned many things from the police department and I’m grateful for their help:
A home security system can be a great deterrent – we now have one.
Even if you don’t choose to buy a security system – buy a security sign for your lawn. Some can be bought on eBay.
Drill solid brass pins through the upper and lower sashes of your windows. This is especially helpful on lower level windows. Thankfully, our basement windows were pinned already.
One officer recommended getting a large breed of dog. This is currently being discussed in our household and we will probably do this.
Robbers brake into houses most often in the daytime, when they believe homeowners are away at work. They are not looking for confrontation with anyone and want to rob an empty house. The officers told me to always answer a knock on the door. Ask loudly through the closed door who the person is and, if it is a sales call, tell them through the closed door to go away. This lets any potential robber know you are at home.
They recommended locks on our garden gates, which we immediately added. In essence, you are throwing as many roadblocks, as you can, in front of the burglar.
Between locks, pins, dogs, and security systems, we hope we are sealed up like Fort Knox.