home and parents

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I have a bunch of blog posts in as drafts and I have wanted to get them finished and posted, but my moral compass feels too dishonest to post anything about our sugarcoated bubble life when my mind and heart has been so distracted by what is happening on the border.

I sat down with my two big kids yesterday, to just talk through things that are happening. I do this often as I care about giving them a wider lens of the world. They are so vastly blessed in so many ways and I hope and strive to raise them up to use their voices for those who have none.

Here were our conversations:

Gemma, 6
Mum: what's the worst thing that's ever happened to you so far?
Gem: um, nothing. No bad things really happen.

Mum: what's the worst thing that could ever happen to you?
Gem: not being with you and Dad. you guys getting dead.

Mum: what do you think could be a reason that me and Dad would ever say, we have to leave our house right now and run away?
Gem: you would never say that

Mum: but let's pretend that we did say that. Why do you think me and Dad would ever take you guys away from our home and go far away?
Gem: maybe because something bad was happening here. Like bad guys?

Greyson, 8
Mum: what's the worst thing that's ever happened to you so far?
Grey: being embarrassed

Mum: like when have you ever been embarrassed!?
Grey: at the championship game yesterday!

Mum: What?! I didn't see anything embarrassing!
Grey: (through fits of giggling) They walked the batter and the guy on first started to run to second and I screamed 'He's going!' and the kid was like, "Dude, it's a walk you can't get me out"

Mum: (laughing) did anyone on your team hear you?
Grey: (hysterically laughing) yea! I screamed it

Mum: okay, let's call Dad quick and tell him that because he will have a brighter day, that is FUNNY, Grey, not embarassing!

--call Dad ---

Mum: okay, questions again - what's the worst thing that could ever happen to you?
Grey: You or Dad dying.

Mum: what do you think could be a reason that me and Dad would ever say, we have to leave our house right now and run away?
Grey: our house burns down? you can't live in ashes

Mum: Okay, any other reason?
Grey: um, someone is trying to kill us? and the first place they'd look for us is in our house?

After the questions with each (during which they sit on or close to my lap while I look them in the face), I told them a little bit about why I was asking those questions.

Mum: I asked you those questions because right now, families are running away from home and going to a place they think will be safe for their kids. The place they think is safe, is here, The United States, but when they get here, they are getting in trouble because they didn't ask to come first.
Grey: why didn't they ask first?

Mum: well, there could be a lot of reasons, if you think of running away, usually it's quick and you don't have time to really do anything.  And most times, it takes a long time to get permission, there's a lot of paperwork and forms and a waiting list. And when you're in danger- or you think your kids are in danger - you can't wait for anything, you just have to go. So what do you think should happen when you get to the safe place even if you didn't ask to come?
Gem: they should help you
Grey: you should say why you came and then they say okay but you have to do the papers still but in the safe place

Mum: well, what is happening right now is that the Mom and Dad are going to jail because they didn't ask and since the kids can't go to jail, they are going to a different building. So they get separated from their parents

Looking at the picture of the centers (while I try to stay quiet and just let them sort through their own questions)
Grey: why are they in cages though?
Gem: what are those blankets?
Grey: do they still get to play? do they get to go to school?
Gem: will they get their moms and dads back?
Grey: how long do they have to stay?
Gem: is the bad thing still at their house? Can they just go back home again with their moms and dads?

I showed them the (now well known) picture of that baby girl crying and told them,
Mum: it says she's two
Gem: Rusty is two.
Grey: she has to go to the cage too?
Gem: I would take care of the babies, momma. and then I would break out of there and come save you and Dad.

After our chats, we spent some time doing read alouds with the babies and then played a fun Mommy-monster game which always leaves them squealing and shrieking in giggles. We had a normal summer day in our safe home in which I could choose to distance myself from facebook and the news and go about my day because it's not happening to me and my children.

because that is privilege. to be able to ever say, 'that difficult thing is not happening to me, so I don't have to think about it.'

And 'difficult thing' could be so much: a sick child, a lost loved one, addiction, racism, infertility, discrimination, weather disasters, depression, a car accident, no wheelchair ramp, unfair pay, over-priced meds, mental illness, broken marriage...fill-in-the-blank.

The important thing to remember is that it's not happening to you...this time. Each of us will go through difficult moments of our life (and at varying degrees of difficulty) and when it is your turn, will anyone help you carry the weight of hardship? Will anyone fight on your behalf?

So much of our grown up worldviews are determined by who said what or little portions of the whole picture framed in distorted justification.

But kids strip all that away because they can look at something and see it in black and white: it is either good or bad. period.

kids being taken away from their moms and dads is bad. It is literally the worst thing that my own children could ever imagine happening to them.
This is bad. period.


  1. So innocent but so true. In tears reading your post. Thank you.

  2. You're so so right, and an amazing mom. What an example you are to us all.
    Thank you for being that example.