This morning I woke up to a house that is quieter than usual. My son, who just turned 10, is away at overnight camp for the first time. I found myself fretting about him a bit while I got ready for work. Did he sleep okay in the cabin last night? Was it too hot? Is he making friends with the other campers? Did he remember to check himself for ticks?
It was just an odd feeling to not know what my child was doing at that exact moment. I’ve pretty much always known what he was doing and feeling most of the time. Even though he was totally ready to go to camp, I feel the weight of his absence and I wonder how many times I can refresh the Facebook feed from his camp (hoping to see a picture of him) before I seem kind of pathetic.
But here’s the thing: I chose this.
I chose to send him to camp. I chose to send him to this particular camp. I chose to send him for a particular amount of time and I know when, where, and how I’ll get to pick him back up. He’s safe and secure and still I worry about him.
Can you imagine being separated without knowing where your child was? Without your child knowing where you are? In a place where you don’t speak the language and when the outcome is so desperately uncertain – will you ever see each other again? How long until you find out something, anything about their safety? What if your ability to be reunited hinges on your child being able to tell someone who doesn’t speak their language your full name and birthdate? What if you never got around to teaching them that? What if you start hearing stories about other children trying to kill themselves?
How would you ever be okay again?
I feel like the stories coming from the border are going to break me. I made myself listen to the audio from inside the detention center where children are being housed in cages and I felt like something in me turned black. I’m so angry. I’m so angry. I’m so angry.
I tried to make myself feel a little better by throwing some money at the problem and donated to some organizations doing legal work for unrepresented minors. I imagined calling some family members who voted for Trump and asking them if, knowing this, they’d still vote for him. If they said yes, then I would know. I would know that they aren’t ever allowed to be near my children again. I went back on Facebook to look for a picture of Miles, who is probably happily swimming right now.
What a fucked up country we are. How broken and rotten at the core we must be.