Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The lurking...

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.


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.


KimPossible said...

My mother used to be a foster parent and I saw it happen all of the time. However, it is not something that you get used to. You look at the mother and wonder, why can't you just get it together? Or you look in eyes and realize she really does love her children, but she just doesn't know how to be a mother. And as you dig deeper in the story, you realize her mother wasn't there for her either. It's a cycle that has to be broken.

Great post.
Hit me up!

African girl, American world said...

How sad.
I still don't see why she didn't at least smile back at you or give the black folk nod. Surely the monitor wouldn't have been mad at that!

Sister P said...

@Kim-It is a situation that makes you begin imagining what her life story is.
@African Girl-I wonder how wrecked your self esteem is when you have someone watching you play with your baby. She may have been ashamed. But there I go again, making excuses for people. I do that, I don't ever believe a person is trying to be mean or unkind. You're right, some acknowledgment would have been nice.

KimPossible said...



Brother OMi said...



alyce said...

This is close to my heart on many levels. I worked as a social worker in children's services (family placement)a few years, unfortunately, I've witnessed far too many of these scenes. I was also a foster parent of one young girl (daughter of a crack head mom). We adopted her. (and she's grown and doing well- praise the Lord) Suffice it to say, I've seen this, thought about it, and lived it, from every possible vantage point. And the histories of every family, every case I ever worked, will always be with me. Some of the mothers/fathers forfeited their parental rights - just couldn't get it together. A few of them were, happily, reunited with their children. But I will never forget the chill I experienced in children's court when we waited all day long to be given permission to take our daughter home.(the process was short compared to the long hours of waiting) So many other children were there with no one to stand for them (parents/relatives who did not show). And it was back to the care home with their social worker. Brings tears just thinking about it.