Get on the Boat

I’m not writing this post to be political. I’m writing it, because this is a parenting blog and what is going on right now appeals to me as a mother.

The first movie I ever cried watching as a child was Dumbo. The scene where his mother and him have to embrace through bars was, in my 5 year old mind, barbaric and the worst thing any child should have to endure. Now as a mom, I cry even harder during that scene. I’m on the other side of the tragedy and I find it even more heartbreaking. Children belong with their parents.

The news disgusts me from every angle. What has become of this nation? What has happened to our humanity? Put your politics aside and look at the pain on that 2 year old child’s face as her mother is ripped away from her. Where is that baby right now? What kind of pain is she facing? Do you know that the caretakers at these tender care facilities are not allowed to offer comfort through affection? They are not allowed to hold these children as they cry and convulse from the emotional pain they’re enduring. They’ve been ripped from their mommies and no one will hug them. I can’t help but think of Haley. She needs affection. She would shut down completely. These kids aren’t being told where their parents are and if they’ll see them again. We don’t have anything to tell them because we don’t know. We still don’t have a plan in place to reunite these families. How? Why?

I want everyone to just stop. Stop. Stop with the politics. Can we please put the bullshit aside? Stop pointing fingers about who created this problem. Stop sharing memes that oversimplify this issue. Stop with the speculation on what the hell Melania’s message on her jacket means. It’s just a jacket. It doesn’t matter. These babies matter. These parents matter. They are people. Be compassionate. Choose kindness.

When 9/11 happened, so many stories emerged about every day people turned heroes. There were so many strangers sacrificing their lives to help people. I had never in my life been so proud to be an American. I want that America back, the one where people showed compassion to each other.

There is so much hate and vitriol. When I say my heart was broken last week, I am not exaggerating. When someone goes on live television and says “womp womp” over a ten year old with Down syndrome being separated from her mother, we’ve really fallen from grace. This is the world I’m raising my daughters in. I think about the adults with Down syndrome watching that clip, wondering if the rest of the world is really this heartless. It scares me. Will Sienna face this in the future? Haley happened to catch a clip of the news last week and asked me why those little kids can’t be with their moms and dads. I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t know.

We can’t use a broad brush to paint this picture. Yes, there are bad people trying to cross the border. There are also families seeking asylum. I know many things have led to our current circumstances and I don’t care to debate those things. I don’t care to point fingers and spew hatred. It’s a vicious cycle and it gets us nowhere. I’m actually battling this with my 5 year old at the moment. Rather than dealing with a problem, she wants to assign blame. Last week, we had a breakthrough. I asked her to clean up a mess. Her friends had been over and they contributed to the mess. She spent so much time breaking down who did what, who made what mess. Because she’s 5. I listened to her all while cleaning up her mess. When I was done, she was still complaining. I turned to her and said, “Do you see all the time you just wasted by trying to blame someone for a mess rather than cleaning it up? Mom cleaned it up while you complained and wasted time and energy. We clean up after our friends and they clean up after us. It’s part of being a good friend, neighbor, and citizen.” Something did click. I’m not saying she still doesn’t whine and complain but now I say to her, are you wasting time right now complaining instead of fixing what’s wrong?

It isn’t illegal to seek asylum. For those of you that are Christians, you’ll recall that Mary and Joseph traveled to seek asylum. King Herod intended to kill the infants in Jerusalem, due to his paranoia. So, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were illegal themselves when they entered Egypt. They wanted to protect Jesus from harm and went to seek out safety for themselves and him.

These families are seeking safety in this country. They are coming from some of the most unimaginable and horrific circumstances. There is a reason they’re risking everything to bring their children to this country. When the water is safer than land, you put your child on a boat.

I don’t know the answer to immigration laws in this country. I’m not going to pretend that I do. I’m not going to waste time pointing to past administrations from both parties that led us to where we currently are. The fact is….we are here. We are all watching children suffer in front of our eyes, missing their parents. Let’s stop wasting time discussing how this mess was made. Let’s start cleaning up, TOGETHER. Won’t it feel good to turn the TV on and see a child reunited with their family? That’s my dream. That’s my prayer every night before I go to bed.

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1 Comment

  1. Your story is stunning…and rings true to the current state of affairs our country is facing. No one wants to separate families.
    Not the parents, nor our administration. It was an exceptionally difficult week and no easy solution. Kindness towards each other is vital. Prayers for all.

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