Where the Center is

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Today was my baby’s last day of being two years old. She tried out a neighbor kid’s scooter. She’s going to nail it. She was adorable in her new little helmet, and as she practiced, a monarch butterfly floated onto the block.

Even as my heart sings, it aches. But in the regular way…the one where time is moving too fast and you almost can’t bear how quickly they grow up. To feel that ache is a privilege. I have never had to suffer that other ache, where my children have been taken from me, and are out there somewhere, where I can only imagine their fates.

Tonight a friend said that where we fall on a given issue depends on where we think the center is. I agree. If we think the choice is between flinging wide our borders and subjecting ourselves to great peril at the hands of criminals with malicious intent, and locking up said criminals and their children, then we will never understand what is happening right now.

If every time we smell the heads of our sleeping child and feel their weight on our shoulders, we would acknowledge the tens of thousands of parents who love their children JUST AS MUCH as we love ours, and whose only “crime” was to seek safety and present themselves at a port of entry for asylum, there is no other way to apply, in most cases, then we begin to see it…that the true center of this debate is between these two choices: Either welcoming refugees seeking asylum into our communities while they go through the asylum review process…or arresting them on sight, taking away their children, and putting everyone through irreversible trauma and darkness.

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