Last week, I was home taking care of my three and a half year old during her tonsillectomy recovery. I had planned on using the down time to get some writing done, but I found myself in a mind-twisting moment of writer’s block. I thought it was a result of the 24-hour diner situation I had dug myself into in an attempt to get her to eat and drink or the constant whining of boredom from her sisters. But, it turns out it was because I was fighting torturous thoughts of children being separated from their parents with no plan for reuniting them. And like most issues and events that haunt me, until I write down my thoughts about them, I can’t write about anything else.
While I sat there, day and night, snuggling a whimpering child who needed me and only me, I tried to mentally tune out the images and sounds of children and parents being tortured in the only way you can truly torture a parent and child, by separating them indefinitely. Each time I heard her cry and rushed to comfort her, all I could think about were the parents who had this instinct ripped away from them. As I provided her with the medicine she needed to manage the pain, I was flooded with the feeling of helplessness these parents must have, not knowing if their child is being taken care of properly.
I don’t want to get into the whys and hows of these families’ journey to America. Although, I can only imagine that the decision to risk so much was driven by a parental instinct to get their children out of danger, a decision I hope that I (and you) would make as well. These whys and hows mean nothing to me when their punishment involves torturing children as a deterrent for trying to come here. Did it really take only a few generations for the majority of this country to forget they are here because a scared but determined parent wanted better for his or her children? How is this now a crime punishable by loss of these children?
I’d like to say that the end of this policy has brought me some peace, but there is too much water under the bridge now. It will be a long and difficult road to erase the damage done to all of these innocent children even if they are reunited with their parents. And I can’t help but wonder how this policy ever made it past the suggestion phase.
I can only assume there weren’t a lot of mothers consulted in the creation of this policy, and maybe that is the problem with our country right now. There are too many men in power touting hollow phrases like “America first” and “traditional family values” and not enough mothers in power using phrases like “compassion first” and “successful societies start with happy and healthy children.” It’s no longer enough for mothers to govern their families into healthy and productive members of society. We must now take the reigns of governing society to ensure that we can do so. And honestly, a firm grab of the ear and loudly whispered reminder to be decent human beings might be just what this country needs.
As more and more women and mothers join the campaign trail, I do believe that we are inching closer each day to a more well-rounded governing body that looks out for the needs of all not just the few. I can only hope that my girls get to see it in their lifetime. Until then, I will continue to govern my little corner of society with love and compassion and speak up for those who haven’t been allowed the same.