I recall being at Disney in Orlando and as I crossed the street my eldest son Nathan who was about seven, got separated from me. We had been at the park all day and had stopped to get something to eat. As my husband stood in line, I motioned to him that I was taking the kids across the street so we could sit down. The crowd was light but as I began crossing the street, a large crowd appeared out of nowhere. When I got to the other side of the street I realized Nathan was not by my side where he should have been. I scanned the nearby area trying to find him but came up empty.
I remember screaming his name as I pushed my little girl in the stroller while holding the hand of my other son, running through the crowd screaming, Nathan. Today, what still have me frozen in time is the moment that emptiness kicked in at Disney. I am talking about the feeling of not knowing where my child was. I am speaking of that specific second when something within me collapsed and my heart began beating at an exhilarating pace. I remember shaking uncontrollably as the water began to rise like a volcano within me to the point of erupting as the water filled my eyes. It was at that moment, just before the tears came bursting out that I spotted him in the far distance. A confused look on his face as he looked for me among the crowd surrounding him. That empty feeling of "not knowing" where he was, seemed like an eternity but in reality, it was only a few minutes. It still bothers me today especially when I go into crowded areas with my children. As old as they are now, I try never to take my eyes off them when we are out and about in an area with a lot of people.
So, for me to say I understand what those parents who got separated from their children at the border are going through is an understatement. I cannot even begin to imagine the emotional trauma that these parents and kids are going through and the after effect it will have on them. My separation from my son lasted only but a few minutes, here we are talking about weeks of not knowing where their kids are, not knowing if they are safe or okay, not knowing when they will or if they will see them again. I cannot imagine the blame and guilt plaguing their minds. I cannot imagine.
Just imagine! Can YOU?
"Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving." - Gail Tsukiyama