Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Lunch

Today was the annual Thanksgiving Lunch at David's elementary school. This is his last year at this particular school, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Perhaps it's not the best lunch in town, but you'd be surprised at the number of parents and grandparents that line the hall waiting on their little person to enter the cafeteria.

I always leave that school broken hearted though. Always.

I often times forget how blessed I have been throughout my life. Yes, I've been through some hard times. But all of my hard times have some how stemmed directly from a poor choice I had made. But the children I come across in the walls of that school have no control in the situations they are stuck in, and my heart aches for each child that has to bear the load of a screwed up adult.

I hear a sad story every time I visit for lunch. There was the time that a little girl in David's class has no lunch in her lunch box and wept at the lunch table in front of all her classmates. There was the time that a little boy in his class told me about both his parents having been to jail and that his dad was away somewhere getting help so he could be better. Every time there's a kid who just hugs me and talks to me like they have never seen a smiling face before. And then today, I think I heard the worst I've ever heard...

The little boy seated across from me tells me, "I don't like my mother." Wow. How do you respond to that? So I said, "Oh, I'm so sorry you feel that way..." And he commences to tell me all the reasons why he doesn't like her... she doesn't pay any attention to him when he's at her house because she only wants to hang out with her boyfriend who just so happened to run over his dog on purpose. Did you get all that?

So I tried to change the topic of conversation to something a little more uplifting by asking, "So who's your favorite person in the whole wide world?" And a big smile came across his face and he replied, "My dad."

Well good. He does have someone who loves him and does their very best to take care of him. But then the boy beside him chimes in with his story... he, too, lives with is dad because his mom was never married to his dad. And then she had two more kids and got divorced, and now she's married again to a not-so-good guy. And he has Suddenly, I found myself wanting to run...

I just can't wrap my mind around a world where people just have these kids and have absolutely no regard to the way they treat them. These poor Innocent little souls are thrust in the middle of such selfish and ridiculous behavior. I've seen glimpses of it in my day to day life in people I know, but it wasn't until recently that I realized how common it is for a mother to chose a new boyfriend over her own children or a father to chose a life of drugs and crime over his family. Our whole society is tearing apart, and it's the children who suffer the most.

I can't say what I would do if I found myself a single mother somewhere down the road. But I can say this - I would hope I wouldn't forget that my children are just little people who need love and tenderness and security. They deserve that from me no matter what my circumstance in life, no matter what I have to sacrifice. They deserve that because it's us stupid, pitiful adults that brought them into this crazy mixed-up world. And it's our duty to watch over them.

Just had to get that off my chest. I sure do wish I could bring all those little broken hearts home with me. I really do.

2 comments:

Rebecca said...

I live in such a sheltered little world. I cannot imagine what those kids go through.

RunnerMom said...

I see the same thing at my kids' new school this year--it's in an economically deprived area and it makes me so sad. I see kids without clean clothes or grooming. The school does a great job handing out peanut butter sandwiches to anyone who doesn't have a lunch or not enough lunch (or lunch money). I think we have over 50% on free and reduced lunch. This one little boy hugs me every time and I never thought about it--but maybe he just needs to see a smiling face, like you said.