I took baby girl and her partner in crime to the library. We took off our coats and put their backpacks on the backs of their chairs. The children began to work on puzzles when I saw her.
ANOTHER BLACK MOTHER!
I smiled, but she didn't see me because she was totally into her son. They were playing ball in the reading area. Then I tried to make eye contact again. I smiled at her and she just stared me down. That wasn't the first time that that happened to me in "big city wanna be" so I just went on about my business figuring she was a nanny or just not friendly.
When I walked closer to the area that the mother and child were in I noticed that there was only one more woman in there, a young white woman, and she was texting on her phone and didn't have children with her.
Then I saw the Black mother with a diaper and wipes taking her son to the restroom and the lady followed behind and sat in a chair so she could see the bathroom door.
That's when I figured it out. The mother was having a supervised visit with her child. She gave him a bottle, some snacks, read to him, played with him all while closely monitored.
The monitor listened to how she spoke to the boy and offered suggestions for better communication. Example:
Mom: Put that down boy, before I have to get you.
Monitor: Just remove it from his hand and say no-no.
When it was time to go, the monitor put the boy in her car as the mother walked away.
I'm still trying to figure out how this made me feel. It was the first time I saw this and I'm feeling like I should do something but there's nothing to do. Obviously the mom is trying or she wouldn't be allowed to visit. But the lurking monitor was so disturbing to me.