Friday, March 7, 2008

Things You Never Expect to Hear Your 12-Year-Old Say...

FINALLY tonight I was feeling better and we started putting some of that huge pile-up of miscellany into storage. We got home a bit late and I ordered a pizza and while we waited for it I was IMing with a friend and my daughter was on the phone. It was pure chance that she was coming down the stairs and passed me just as she said, "His mom got DEPORTED?"

Of course, I had to stop her and question her. Yes, the mother of one of her classmates was deported. In my daughter's words, "She has to go back to Mexico for 3-10 years."

Lately I've been lamenting the lives of children quite a bit. We live in the Chicago suburbs, not the especially affluent suburbs, but still a place where we have green lawns and friendly neighbors and little dogs frolicking behind fences there's a long line of late-model SUVs in front of the school at 3:00.

My daughter has two friends who are in foster care.

She has another friend whose parents have been fighting over custody for more than a year, and during that time she has switched households EVERY SINGLE DAY. She leaves for school from one house and goes home to the other.

She isn't allowed to visit a fourth because we hear the father screaming curses at the children in the background when she's on the phone with her and he reportedly recently threw a chair through the window.

And now, the mother of another of her classmates has been deported.

It bears mentioning that at my daughter's school, each grade is divided into multiple "teams". Teams are constructed based on a variety of factors, and my daughter's team is the one with all of the "ET" kids--the kids who are accelerated in various subjects, who get good grades, who aren't disciplinary problems. In other words, this is as good as it gets.

If these are the circumstances our children are facing in everyday life at 11 and 12, what hope do they have of building the skills and values and confidence and clarity that they'll need in just a few short years? And what will they pass on to their own children? I'm not sure when (or how) I got old enough to think, "What is this world coming to?", but I'm thinking it now.

1 comment:

CK Holder said...

Sometimes I think we live in a protected little bubble. I kind of like it in a "ignorance is bliss" sort of way. I have a feeling, however, that it's really only like that in my head.

All I can say is: Yikes!