by AVI VINCE
I was taking the bus to work the other day and a couple got on. They both seemed to have suffered a big one the night before, and were most likely still a little hammered or high as neither could speak properly.
From what I could understand, the mum was really upset that another one of her children had to be removed from her care. She blamed the dad for always upsetting her and I gathered there may have been some domestic violence being the reason the child, or children, were removed. It almost looked like they were on their way to meet the Child Protection worker to plead their case.
I have to admit, as I sat opposite them, I started to hate them. Not because of their story, but because of the way she spoke. “Do you know how I feel, having another one taken from me? That was the worst mother’s day for me. I can’t believe you did that to me. I can’t have him away from me, he is my little boy.”
For the entire 20 minute bus ride, she didn’t show any worry about how he felt…her little boy. Not only did he have to witness whatever he did for however long, but he had to be taken away from his bedroom, from his toys, from his friends and put into a stranger’s house.
He was sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar house, in an unfamiliar suburb with complete strangers. And all she could think about was how she felt. I couldn’t help but hope that she didn’t get him back.
But then instantly I knew what it would mean for the little boy. He would grow up wondering why his mum didn’t love him the same way other mums loved their sons. He would hate the workers that put and kept him in care. They stood in the way of him being with his mum.
Regardless of whatever happened to him and regardless of how drunk or high she would be, he would have this inexplicable love for her. Regardless of how he would sometimes hate her in moments of anger, he wouldn’t be able to shake it.
I never believed that loving your parents is instinctual until I entered the Child Protection sector. The problem is parenting is not instinctual. It is taught and learned. Your mum teaches you what to do when your baby doesn’t stop crying. But what if your mum, or the nurse, wasn’t there to teach you.