When I got back into town from Fairhope, I ALMOST went ahead & downloaded all of the pictures from Easter & Fairhope. But I wasn't feeling great and didn't have much time before we were leaving for Atlanta on Friday. We had my nephew's 2nd birthday party in Atlanta Saturday morning and then a shrimp broil planned for that night at our house with friends. I knew I'd take a ton more pictures, so I decided I'd just wait and download everything on Sunday.
And then our camera was stolen Friday night.
Waah waah waahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
We were supposed to stay Friday night with my sister. But since I had been a little sick earlier in the week, we decided to just get a hotel room. We got into Atlanta around 8:00 our time. Hollon had taken a nap at the house and slept most of the way down. So we knew she wouldn't go to sleep if we just went straight to the hotel. She was in a good mood, so we decided to grab dinner, let her release some energy, and then check into our hotel. We picked the Taco Mac in Dunwoody. It was poring down rain. We parked in the well lit parking lot, locked Rob's truck and ran inside. We were inside for a little over an hour. We come out ready to head to the hotel. As Rob was buckling Hollon into her car seat, is when he realized that the back driver's side window was busted out. And the suitcase that had mine and Hollon's clothes was missing. And there was rainwater all in Rob's new (only 4 month old) truck.
I immediately do what I do best. Panic. And think about all of the minor, non-important things and freak out. I never pack mine & Hollon's clothes together. But since we were only going to be in Atlanta 1 night and 1 day, I did this time. The suitcase had my pajamas, outfit, shoes & jewelry for Saturday. I panic because ALL my makeup was in the suitcase. I am not a girl who goes around in public with no makeup. I care about my makeup. I treat it good. It is like a friend to me. And some punk had taken it. Then I completely freak out and get more upset because of all of Hollon's stuff that is missing. I had packed 3 smocked outfits for her, 2 of which she had never even gotten to try on (which is why I had packed 3 different outfits) and 1 even still had the tags on it. In the suitcase was her new gold sun san sandals. She had only gotten to wear them twice. They took her little gold Old Soles slippers. This broke my heart. Those shoes are almost too small for her, so she doesn't wear them much anymore. But I packed them in case it was cold. Those were her first shoes and I had planned on packing them away in her memory box. Also in the suitcase was the stuffed things she sleeps with. Her Angel Dear bunny pillow that my best friend gave her for her first birthday. Hollon loves it and sleeps with it every night. Stephanie gave Jake one too for his first birthday and he slept with it every night until we had to make him stop. It is now packed away in his memory box. I had planned to do the same with Hollon's, but now it is gone. Also gone is her favorite stuffed bunny. It just breaks my heart.
They didn't take Rob's bookbag that had his clothes in it, Gaines birthday gift or my Tory Burch bag that had Hollon's toys and food in it. So they obviously broke the window, took the one thing they thought was most valuable and ran.
We immediately call the police. We wait forever for them to come, mind you, it is still raining, it is getting late, our stuff is gone and we've got an 18M old with us. (Thankfully Jake was not with us, he was with my parents.) Police finally get there. The officer certainly wasn't rude, but I certainly don't think our car break-in with only a suitcase taken ranked high on his 'Crimes to Solve Immediately' list.
I fully expected for them to fingerprint everything inside the truck, call in forensics, wake up local business owners to view their security camera footage.
Basically the cop says that area has break-in's all the time, since nothing of high value was stolen (he did not seem to register that I told him there were 3 SMOCKED OUTFITS STOLEN!) that there would probably be very little they could do. They took the information, gave us a card and then went on their way.
And we were left to figure out how to patch up the window to keep rain out at 11:00 at night. With only supplies from Target. We bought some garbage bags and duct tape and did the best we could. Rob & I both agreed that we were wide awake, upset and wanted to get this all cleaned up before Jake could see it. (He is like his mama and is a panic-er) So we decide to just drive back to Birmingham. In the rain. With our target garbage bags flapping in the wind. Rob kept having to pull over to push the tape back down. I was turned around watching him do that and that is when I realized that the camera bag is gone.
And that is when I lost it. And cried. And decided to quit my job, so I could concentrate full time on finding the punks that did this and torturing them to their death.
I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I'm not a confrontational person at all. But don't come between me and my pictures. I am so upset with myself that I did not download those pictures before we left for Atlanta. Thankfully I did a full camera photo dump at the end of 2015 and up until the Easter photos, I had at least downloaded the photos that I've used on the blog. So mostly, the only ones gone are the Easter & Fairhope pictures. But I had not even had a chance to look at them yet.
The thing that makes me most upset, is the things that matter the most to me (Hollon's stuff & the pictures) I know are the things the thieves care the least about. Unless they sell children's boutique clothing on the black market, as soon as they open the suitcase, they are going to be disappointed. There is nothing of value in it to them. So they'll just dump it. My sweet baby's things will be dumped in the garbage or on the side of the road. They don't care about the sim card in the camera (or at least I hope they don't), they'll chunk it, they just want to pawn the camera. But it is those pictures on that sim card that mean the world to me. And it is gone.
And it makes me mad that they ruined our weekend. We had to miss the birthday party of my precious nephew. We had to cancel our plans with our friends Saturday night. We instead spent it cleaning up rainwater and glass and dealing with insurance.
We finally make it back to Birmingham around 2 in the morning. Exhausted. Upset. Emotional. We spent Saturday cleaning up all of the broken glass, dealing with insurance, and me still plotting my revenge.
This whole thing has been a mess. I play back a thousand "what if's" in my mind. What if we had stayed at Lindsey's instead of getting a hotel room? What if we had checked in first and unloaded our luggage before going to dinner? What if we'd picked a different place to eat? What if we'd parked somewhere else? What if I could ever learn to only pack 1 outfit and 1 pair of shoes for my kid?
But there are also so many, many things I am thankful for. I am thankful that we did not walk up on them breaking into the car. We had left Hollon's table mat in the car and when they brought her dinner, I almost ran out to grab it. But I didn't want to go out in the rain, so I didn't. What if I had walked up as they were breaking in? Maybe it would have scared them away? But I think about the father in Birmingham, that was shot in the back of the head when he accidentally walked up on punks breaking into his car in his own driveway. They shot him dead and his wife is now a widow and their sons lost their father. People are crazy and you don't know what crazy will do. We were all safe and that is what matters most. I'm thankful that the truck wasn't stolen. Because what a mess that would have been trying to get back to Birmingham. I'm thankful Jake wasn't with us. He would have freaked out. And asked a million questions. And been worried sick. All he knows is that Dad's window got broken and we don't know how. I am thankful that Rob & I didn't have our work laptops with us. The data on our laptops is password protected and encrypted, but still. If they were to be stolen, it would be a big mess for us and our companies. I'm thankful I was not traveling with my real jewelry or any of my sentimental jewelry pieces. If I'm being honest, I'm glad I didn't have any of my Tory shoes in the suitcase and the dress I packed wasn't my very favorite.
And I am so incredibly thankful for amazing family and friends who have checked on us, provided for us, helped us, made us laugh and have just been the amazing people that they are.
(And once a little perspective was able to sink in, I decided to not quit my job. But I will be investigating this case in my spare time with vengeance. Except I have no tools. No knowledge. And no contacts.)
(It's a little slow going.)