A friend of mine recently had her children stolen. Both of them. From a park by her house. They’re 10 and 6.
Let that sink in for a second.
Every parent’s worst nightmare? Maybe. It’s certainly mine. Tied for first with losing one to Death.
The moment I read her post on Facebook, my heart broke. Along with every other parent reading the same post. In that moment we were all united in the compassion that binds us all as parents.
And I guess that’s my issue–how I know we’re capable of being compassionate, empathetic, supportive of each other as parents–but I’ve seen too little of it. I’ve been reeling for hours to put my finger on the emotions surging up inside me on this topic. See, there’s more to the story. Her children weren’t stolen by some creeper in a panel van, an ex-husband, or a convicted pedophile–the classic boogeymen we warn our babies about, the ones we preach Stranger Danger about. No, her children were stolen by police.
BY THE POLICE. IN AMERICA.
Not Mexico. Not Bosnia. Not a third world country. THE GOOD OL’ U. S. of A.
Land of the free, home of the brave?
Well, apparently not if you’re a 10 year old playing at the park. Or a parent.
What. In. The. Fuck are we doing, people?
Is this really the kind of country we wanted? Is this what we’ve worked toward? Tattletaling on each other when someone wants to parent differently? Calling the COPS? The COPS! when two children are playing in a park without parental supervision.
Was that how your childhood looked? Mine sure didn’t. I can’t even log the miles I put on my bike during the summer or after school. I had a job at a ranch and had to ride from the school to the ranch–FIVE MILES. UNSUPERVISED!
What happened to “it takes a village?” Are we that much better than our ancestors that we can’t be bothered to help raise each other’s kids? Was there not a parent within miles that couldn’t keep an eye on those kids–in the event that they DID fall or get abducted? No parent looking out a kitchen window thinking, “Oh, how fun. Look at those siblings spending time outside. If I see a creeper in a van pull up, I’ll be sure to run out and protect them, like I would if they were my own.”
What in the fuck, people? Seriously.
We’re better than this. We are. I know we are.
We can wipe a snotty nose at the playground instead of judging the mom who let her kid have boogers. We can keep an eye on a kid scootering around the block instead of judging the mom who let her kid play in the sunshine. We can smile in encouragement at a mom trying to pump in the bathroom of an amusement park without judging why in the fuck she just can’t use formula. We can pick up the top to a bottle of the mom in the restaurant who just dropped it while she was trying to shake up her formula for her baby because breastfeeding wasn’t for her–whatever her reason. We can stop judging each other’s parenting choices. Because MOTHER KNOWS BEST.
THAT kid’s mom. NOT YOU. NOT ME.
Because when I judge someone else’s parenting decisions, you want to know what happens? I give them permission to judge mine. And you give me permission to judge yours.
For the love of all that is holy, KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF.
WE’RE ON THE SAME FUCKING TEAM.
WE’RE ALL RAISING THE FUTURE!
~ ~ ~
Do you agree? Disagree?
I want this to start a conversation. A BIG ONE.
Oh, and the 8 THINGS OTHER MOMS DO THAT PISS ME OFF?
Instead, let’s be kind. And compassionate. And helpful. And supportive.
Let’s be a village. ‘K?
And, for more info on my friend’s situation, one of many news stories: