THE BLOG
08/22/2016 04:15 pm ET Updated Aug 23, 2017

The Syrian Child In The Back Of The Car And My Three Year Old

For the last two days I have come across yet another picture that has shattered by otherwise routine weekend agenda of being completely consumed in making up to my three-year-old daughter for a week of daytime absence. Between splash pad and play date commitments; I have been nervously scrolling fast past my Facebook and Huffington Post newsfeed, in hopes of seeing his face once more. In hopes of not seeing him again. Children of war -- there have been and always will be -- no point in shedding too many tears for issues so beyond our control. And we do our part anyways -- donations, concerns, and even occasional petitions. My friends and well-wishers have explained.

You keep on writing about open borders and taking in children -- you comment on how Denmark should solve their declining population issues by welcoming or adopting Syrian children instead of travel company ads -- you are naive and idealist. A pseudo-liberal. You have no idea how impossible and dangerous what you say is. I have been rebuked in parties and forums, as have been others who talk crazy like me. And what about the rising assaults in Germany? Others have asked. Why should anyone inherit other people's problems?

They are all right may be then. May be children are segregated, not equal -- by fortunate or unfortunate birth -- by whether they are ours or not. And no matter how bad we feel, that's all we can do. Consequences might be horrendous otherwise. May be they are all right and prudent.

But as we drive to another play date with my sleeping toddler asleep in her car seat and my husband behind the wheel, I catch a glimpse of her tilting head and twist myself to support her, almost with a leap. We drive like this for close to an hour, as we often do, and from time to time, I myself doze off. And I startle up only to see a different child seated next to me instead. Not asleep - wide awake, covered in soot, and looking at me with questioning eyes.
I ask him for forgiveness. I pray for him to grow up and understand our reasons. Our limitations. And yet, for my own child, I ask for all the innocence of this world. For as long as possible.

Her head falls sideways when she sleeps,
And I turn to support with my hands
For I can't bear how her lips would otherwise sulk
When sudden turns will need to be made

When her eyes cloud even a bit
A broken toy, an absent friend, or cancelled plans
Something changes inside me forever each time
And she forgets, but I can't

For I now know how child eyes speak
What they ask even when they can't
And how silence on their toddler lips
Is worse than a thousand rants

Yet here I see him, sitting quietly
Gasping at his poise!
Covered in grey so much he is
Eyes can't really be found in his face

I scroll past the feed quite a few times
Debating if to be angry or cry
Facebook now lets me choose to be either
Instead of just the awkward like

I hear about him for a few days after
Oh isn't this world a mess
Bombed children in a faraway land
And yes we all regret

A tragedy of a nation. A population displaced
A toddler by the sea. And increasing crime rates
They created this mess. Or maybe we did.
Either way that doesn't matter. We have Peace Corp and UNICEF

A problem too big
A problem not mine
I am pretending to care only to be superior
And we are all doing what we can

There will be wars and there will be children
We will birth them again and again
For the proliferation of our lineage is what matters
And we will protect the ones we can

Why is it then that I can't sleep?
Ashamed and afraid.
I couldn't even tell from his eyes in the picture
What is it that he really felt

It is because I am selfish and weak
And have no answer to what he has to say
For once I know what a child eye speaks
I see hers in his dusty face

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