I had a plan.
We were getting ready to spend a day at my parents' house at the lake. Picture me, packing sunscreen, big diapers, little diapers, two night-night blankets, big paci, little paci, sunscreen, floats, and onesies to go around. My water bottle, Asher's water bottle, shoes for the water, shoes for now, running to the back to brush my teeth, running to the kitchen to brush Asher's teeth, picking up Silas to settle him down, and Asher orbiting around me shouting, "Big Daddy!" Does it sound like a circus? Because it is. But not a chaotic one, and certainly not a dangerous one. So I thought.
I can't lift Asher, and I can't lift Silas in his carrier, but we've adapted, see? So I pack everything in the bag, but the bag on my back, and help Asher walk down the brick front steps to his car seat. He proudly climbs up, I strap him in and hand him Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I roll down the windows because it's summer in Alabama, and it wouldn't take long for a baby to bake in the car. I put everything else I'm going to need - the float, water bottles, and my purse - on the front steps, wrangle Taylor into his (our) room, take chicken out of the freezer for dinner, make sure the back door is locked, pick up Silas, make sure my keys are still in my pocket, walk back to the car, fasten Silas into his carrier, confirm to Asher, "Yes, we're going to see Big Daddy," shut the car door, and go back to get the rest of the stuff.
My purse is gone.
Now, I have a reputation for being scatterbrained. When Brian and I were dating, the joke was that he walked behind me and picked up whatever I'd forgotten along the way. It's true, he did. And I can still get somewhere and realize I left my cell phone on the counter (I once pulled out of the driveway for a day-long trip before I realized I still had my slippers on). But, ironically, the more responsibility I have, the less likely I am to forget something. I have never left the house without Asher's blanket, for example. I have only left once without a water cup for him, and he almost always has shoes on. So, I thought, maybe I misplaced it. Maybe it wasn't on the step. I went back through every single place I'd been to pack their bag (which is almost every single place in the house). I checked the freezer, thinking of the Cosby show. I checked under a baby blanket, I checked the bathroom sink. No, I had it on the front steps. I know I did.
Someone stole my purse. From my front steps, while my back was turned. We live in an older neighborhood on a quiet street with a good-sized front yard, so someone had to walk through my yard (or hide in the bushes, God forbid), take my purse, and get back to the street without attracting either my attention or the attention of my sixty pound dog. They did.
I really don't care about the cash or the cell phone or the debit card or the digital camera (ok, I care a little about the digital camera) that was in my purse. What bothers me - what makes me shudder - is how close they were to Asher. While he was pointing to frogs and goldfish, they were fifteen feet away, taking what was mine. Their gall is what shocks me. Why just my purse? If someone was willing to take something from the front steps of my house, why didn't they just rob me? Why did they leave Asher alone? It was luck of the draw that a petty thief was watching this morning, and not someone with more sinister intentions.
We went to Big Daddy's house anyway. I watched Asher, playing in the water hose, eating peaches and okra for lunch, dancing while his grandmother sang, and thought about what they got this morning, and what they left behind. They can have my cash. They didn't touch one thing - not one damn thing - that matters.