When I was seven years old, I went to Rome. We were there on some of the hottest days the city had seen in a very long time, but we still ventured out of the hotel room and into some of the popular sites. One such site was the Colosseum. My mom wanted to see it, and although I had very limited knowledge of what it was, my religious upbringing had taught me enough to know that Christians hadn't always been very welcome in Italy. That knowledge hung in the back of my mind as we stood in one of the lines leading into what was now a popular tourist attraction.
At some point, someone sent me, my brother, and my dad to one line and my mom into another. Instantly, I felt panic set in. You see, I'd learned what the Colosseum used to be, but no one had told me that wasn't what it was anymore. And without that critical piece of information, I fully believed I was never going to see my mom again after watching her change lines. Tears filled my eyes and I felt myself begin to panic. Somehow, at some point, everything was resolved and someone explained to me what had happened. I don't remember the reasoning, but I remember the feeling of knowing that I wasn't separated from my mom anymore. She was okay. I was okay. Everything was okay.
Last year, I got political a lot on this blog. During the 2016 election, I cried, I wrote essays, I yelled into a void trying to find answers to questions I didn't think I'd ever have to ask. Sometime in the last year, I stopped writing about my opinions on politics and stuck to simper things. Lately I've been writing about my graduation and nostalgia, and books and places and poetry and other good things. But in the past week I have once again been greeted with a stark reality.
There are children in this country who are being separated from their families. They are in a country they don't know very well, and they are in a country where they are not always welcomed with open arms. I'm sure some of them know this. There are children in this country who are being separated from their mothers. There is probably a line involved, whether literal or metaphorical. They are going one way and their mothers are going another. There is one major difference between my story and the one they are living right now: No one is telling them everything is going to be okay. Their mothers are not returning in a few minutes to give them a hug and a kiss and say it's okay, they are right here. Their mothers are not able to say they are okay, that their children are okay. They can't say that everything is okay.
I don't know how to make everything okay. I don't even understand how we got here in the first place. This is callous. It's shameful. It's disgusting. In fairytales, whenever a child is taken away from their home, we all know it's the monster who did it. The story continues and the monster is defeated. I don't know how to defeat this monster. I don't think any one person can defeat this monster. So I am leaving links at the bottom of this piece. Please do what you can. I'm a spiritual person, but thoughts and prayers alone cannot fix this anymore. The hole is too deep. We are all stuck in it.
Until we find a solution, please do me a favor. If you have children, hug them a little tighter today. If you have parents around, first remember a time when you thought you'd been separated from them, and then go give them a hug too. Be empathetic. Put yourself in the shoes of those children. We need to do what we can so soon someone can tell them everything is going to be okay. Soon, their mothers need to be able to give them a hug and a kiss and say that they're right there. We need to put these families back together.