Commentary

Crisis on Border Raises Specter of That Child Lost on the Beach

By ERIN McCLOSKEY | Jun 27, 2018

A green dress. A green sundress covered in sand. A green sundress drenched with water up to the waist and covered in sand. A mother clutching an under-1-year-old child, looking frantic and pale in a green sundress with water up to the waist covered in sand, staggering down the beach past my family and me.

My sister and I could see the terror on this poor woman’s face. We knew that look – that fear, the absolute terror. And just as we asked her if she was OK, a lifeguard down on the next beach, standing next to a little girl in a neon orange bathing suit, waved to her. The toddler, no older than 3, had walked all the way down to the next beach and her mother, not knowing where her little one was, had almost collapsed.

She managed to get to her toddler as I’m sure the waves of relief and thoughts of “what if” took hold of her mind. She held her daughter, so tight. They didn’t move for 10 minutes. The mother just held her daughter on her knees as the sand and the wash covered her legs.

I cried as I rocked my 3-month-old to sleep and watched my own toddler playing in the sand. There was no judgment. There was only the deepest of empathy for how panicked that young woman must have been. You could tell she had searched the wash for her baby, imagining that the worst had happened. I’m sure the fear that someone had taken her or that they were forever separated entered her mind.

Having two young children I know how quickly a toddler can move when the other needs soothing. No judgment, only empathy.

Why, then, are we not empathetic to those parents who have been ripped from their children at our borders? Because they’re a different race or ethnicity? Because they were trying to keep their babies safe?

And those babies, what about those babies? Being torn from their only sense of security and the most purest form of love that they’ll ever know – what about them? Is someone from another country really that much different from the woman in the green dress? I have no judgment, only empathy and the desire to speak up for those without a voice.

Isn’t that how this country was founded, people speaking up? That’s what makes this country great. We have never been a country that stands idly by when injustice occurs. We are a proud, loud and imperfect group of individuals that wants freedom and justice for all.

If you still are trying to justify these actions of our government, then imagine you are the mother in the green dress scrambling through the wash of the waves, desperately trying to find your daughter. Now imagine you’re the woman in the green dress narrowly escaping persecution, danger and/or war and someone takes your child from you. No one should have to endure being separated from his or her children. In no circumstance is this OK.

Erin McCloskey of Hammonton, N.J., a 33-year-old mother of two, has spent every summer of her life in Harvey Cedars. Her parents own a home there, as did her grandparents.

 

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