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I’ll be honest, my parenting plan for explaining why children were being taken from their parents at the Mexican border was to keep it to my effing self.
My husband was an illegal immigrant before we got married. Our son is Mexican-American, and we visit Mexico usually once a year. These current events are relevant to our family and important for my kid to know. However, my son is 4-yrs-old and I have no desire to scare the bejeezus out of him.
My plan to keep quiet about the atrocities our racist government was inflicting on children who, heartbreakingly, look like my own, sweet son lasted two days.
On the morning of day three, before my kid was awake, I was browsing through the news articles on Facebook and tears were just streaming down my face. These poor innocent children! These hardworking families scared to death over what might be happening to their children!! How long will it be until these racist jerks come after us?
My husband is a legal resident, not a citizen. What if they manage to change some law or accuse him of some made-up crime so they can take him from us?! What if we’re coming back home from visiting my kid’s abuelos and some border guard decides to question my son’s documents?! If it’s possible for our government to separate families at the border, what are they not capable of?!
My son woke up and came down to find me puffy-eyed, red-faced and blubbering at the dining room table while staring in horror at my phone.
“What? What is it??”
Shit. I have to tell him.
So, through tears and with a shaky voice, I explained that there were children who had been taken from their parents at the Mexican border and I was really sad about it.
Because our government is taking these kids from their parents and now there are a lot of people trying to get these kids back where they belong, but I’m just scared for those little kids and I hope they find their mommies and daddies again.
Our son is very attached to his mommy and daddy. This is why I’m homeschooling him, why he still cries sometimes wishing we all slept in the same bed with him, why I nursed him for 18 long months, and why we had to turn off Harry Potter when he found out the kids were going to sleep at Hogwarts all night and not at home with their parents.
I was terrified he would freak out at the news about the kids at the border. Instead, he kind of stared at me with those big eyes and just asked, “But why are they doing that?”
The best I could come up with was, “Oh, I don’t know why. Because they’re big jerks.” I was still crying, but he let it go. Thank goodness.
There is no single thing this administration has done that’s been more earth-shattering for me, as the mom of a little Mexican-American boy, than ripping those children from their parents at the border. This madness has to stop. This era of having to figure out how to explain impossible horrors to our young children has to end.
I am working to end it by teaching my son about empathy and giving him the confidence to speak his truth when it’s his turn. (And by voting for a Democratic majority in the House, thank God!!) I can only hope I am doing enough.
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