Monday, October 1, 2007

Lessons Learned

Last spring my family and I moved into a new house. This move was in response to a break-in nine months earlier one evening when the kids and I were home alone. We lived in a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia. The house was on a major thoroughfare, with motion lights all around the perimeter, locks on all the doors, and an alarm system. We thought we were safe. Fortunately, neither the children nor I were physically hurt, but the emotional toll was indelible, especially for Miss Olivia and me.

For months following the break-in Olivia and I didn’t talk to each other much about what had happened. I didn’t want to upset her and she was doing the same for me. When we finally did talk about it. I was amazed by the details she remembered. At the time, she was only 7 years old, but she remembered the police waking her up with their guns drawn and her father grabbing her out of her bed assuring her that everything was o.k. My heart broke when she asked why I chose to grab her brother from another room, but not her. I explained that her brother was only a few feet away from me, but to get her I would’ve had to cross the hall, wake her and get her out of the top bunk of her bed. I didn’t want to draw any more attention up the stairs. In a split second, I opted to leave Olivia asleep on the 2nd fl. while I made my way to the telephone on the 3rd fl. Fortunately, she understood, and I thank God every day for making this move possible, because there are countless families that feel their living in a vulnerable situation, but don’t have the resources to move.

Despite the trauma of the break-in, my family and I have experienced many blessings from this incident. It’s brought clarity to what Loverman and I want for our family. We decided it was time to abandon our urban adventure and really acknowledge the violence that plagues our city’s streets. This is not the type of environment we wanted for our kids. It’s also taught me the importance of not underestimating the capacity for understanding of our children. By sharing my fears and thoughts with Olivia and encouraging her to do the same, we’ve been able to dispel misconceptions about the events of that evening which could have negatively impacted our relationship for years to come.

You can learn more about my story by checking out the following link: http://storiesforchange.net/node/466 or by clicking on the title of this post, LESSONS LEARNED.

2 comments:

NeetPR said...

Mango Mama,
I finally got a chance to check out this wonderful site and I'm inspired by it--fabulous!

I'm not surprised, though. You have always been creative, confident and loving. This blog allows you a venue to exercise all of your passions and attributes. I especially loved the story about the 'break-in' to your home. I've always known Olivia to be smart. To read about the healthy and loving relationship you guys are developing, made my heart melt.

You may have also saved her thousands of dollars in therapy.

Keep up the excellent work!!

Anonymous said...

Lisa, everything you write about is awesome. Problem is, I just want more of it...

Love you,

Sis, Kim