The kids went to bed last night excited for Christmas Day. Our plans were to go to my parents house and open presents in the morning and then have the kids open ours when my husband got home from work in the afternoon. Santa is making a special delivery tomorrow (Sunday the 26th) with his gifts.
I awoke a little after 6:15 a.m. to the sound of the town's fire alarm going off constantly like it was stuck. And then the sounds of sirens for at least 15 minutes straight followed by about a 15 minute break and then another string of sirens. I just knew it was something horribly bad. I also knew that it was someone I knew. I live in a small town and am active in the school/PTO.
By 9 a.m. I found out it was in fact someone who worked in the school and was a part of my daughter's girl scout troop. I am thankful that she, her husband and 2 children (7,10) made it out. They lost everything but the clothes on their back, including pets. I don't know her too well but she is always nice to me and my daughter. My heart broke when I heard the news. I walked around for hours in a daze needing to help in some way. I always feel things strongly and it was even harder knowing the family effected. I soon found where they were accepting donations and the sizes of the children. I sat my daughter down and calmly explained what had happened and that her friend (not a close one, but a friend all the same) was ok but that her family house was gone along with all of her clothes, toys and Christmas presents. I debated long and hard about if I should tell her and what details I should give her. It was a given that she would learn in a little over a week what had happened, so I decided to let her know so she wouldn't be surprised at school with it.
My daughter made me so proud! It took her a moment to truly grasp the details. As soon as she did, she offered me lots of her toys some new and some old but in good condition. I think she would've given away almost everything if I had let her. My precious baby girl with a heart of gold. In the end, we had a huge bag filled with at least 8 pairs of pants, a dozen long sleeve shirts, hair accessories, gloves, winter hat and toys. A friend of ours was heading to the fire department with a donation of her own, so I gave her ours to take too. She told me that the community had already rallied in a matter of hours and things were pouring in. Hopefully within the next days we'll get more details concerning shoes, coats, food, etc. I want to get together another care package and bring it over. My heart goes out to the family and I just want to sob my eyes out whenever I think about it. It's been hard to put it to the back of my mind.
Today, I hold my family a little tighter and take more time to appreciate the small things. Also, going to review our fire plan with the family again and maybe install a smoke detector in our basement. I never thought of that until a friend of mine mentioned how her dryer almost caught on fire when she was younger and the smoke detector is what saved them from harm. Never even thought of that. I hear in this case, the fire started outside, possibly with the lights and came in through the walls. There was no warning for them. Thank God that they got out alive. It truly was a Christmas Miracle. Please keep them in your prayers.