The picture made me teary. My daughter, Christie, posted it on Facebook to commemorate Mother’s Day. At nineteen months she’s on my lap, clinging to me. After being gone three days, I’d just returned from the hospital with her new baby brother.
The summer of ’68 was a disruptive one for our young family. We had left the only home in Christie’s memory, student housing, so that my husband, Jim, could be involved in the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington D.C. When the government shut down Resurrection City, Jim joined many who protested the eviction by staying. He was arrested for “camping without a permit” and in prison for three weeks. Upon his release, Christie would not let him out of her sight. Five days later I left for the hospital in the middle of the night. Christie woke up the next morning in the care of friends. What was a young child to make of the most important adults in her life disappearing and reappearing?
I’m reminded of the disruptions in the lives of many children worldwide. Of girls and boys in Ukraine, some fleeing with their mothers to neighboring countries while their fathers fight in a war,others kidnapped and taken to Russia. Fathers in countries affected by climate change or repressive governments see no choice for family survival than to flee to more prosperous countries. They intend to send money back and eventually bring the family to join them but often are detained in refugee camps. On TV I see mothers and fathers leading their children across the Rio Grande. After an arduous journey, many families will be caught illegally entering the U.S. and separated.
Today Christie tried to assuage my guilt. Maybe, she said, she developed confidence that those she loved might disappear for a spell but would return.
May that be true for the many children of the world whose lives have been disrupted by war and migration.
*We can demonstrate our compassion for children by donating to charitable organizations. I’ve not researched which ones are credible. I tend to trust religious denominations.
Thanks for sharing that very touching story. Our daughter was 16 months when we brought her new brother home after my 3-day hospitalization which did not allow children to visit. She wouldn’t have anything to do with me for a while and that was sad. But I like Christie’s take on that now……
Thanks for replying, Scottie. When I think of the impact of these disruptions compared to what other children are enduring…