“Mommy dearest”

Friday, November 09, 2012

Art by Dani Davis
You know that your day is going to be distressing when halfway through it you're at the Help Desk reporting an abusive mother to the police.

I had such an unpretty day yesterday. Cole and I went to pick up Motherhen (my term of endearment for my mother) from the airport and that's where my mini saga began. The picking up was not so bad since there was no traffic . The waiting wasn’t so bad either because Cole was with me and boredom never comes around when you're with that kid. At quarter past one, Motherhen texted that she had to wait for her luggage so Cole and I went around to check out the new shops at the second floor (by “new” I mean the ones that were not there the last time we went to NAIA 3).

We went around and ended up at the entrance lobby. There I noticed a girl, about five or six years old, sprawled all over the floor screaming and crying. I did not see an adult anywhere near her so I stopped and asked Cole if he saw anyone with the girl.

“Her mom is the woman in black,” Cole told me.

I looked around and asked if it was the woman in an all-black burqa. She was the nearest one to the girl and was seated, albeit uncomfortably, on a luggage cart and was oblivious of the caterwauling girl.

Around this time the girl's other sandal went flying up the air not necessarily aimed at anyone. I'm thinking, that would have given that woman in a burqa a reason to budge...or breathe if that sandal ended up on her head.

“Not that one, mommy. The other one.” Cole pointed to a slender woman in a black shirt. She was quite far from the girl but I knew right away from the way she looked at the girl that she was hers. It was that very “Bathorynian” look that told me the other half of that scene was not going to end well, so I stayed there to see if the mother was going to pick up her daughter and offer her some comfort. After a few more minutes she maneuvered her cart around and pushed it towards the little girl and when she was near her, she charged even faster and rammed her daughter's leg with the steel cart. The little girl screamed in pain and cried some more so she pinched her shoulder, picked her up and slammed her in the cart then she hit the little girl's head with her hand. Twice.

I stood there with my mouth open and I could feel Cole tightly clutching my arm. He knew that I was not going to just stand there and watch the whole awful thing happen.

“Mom...” Cole gave me a worried look.

I'm not sure what came over him first, fear of that evil mother or fear of me, but I did not want to cause him any trauma so I gently told him, “Cole, I need to go to the police and report that woman. She's hurting that child and the worst thing that we could do is to not do anything.”

Cole nodded so we walked fast to the Help Desk, which oddly was a just a few meters away from where the girl and her mother were. I approached the two policemen who were standing there and told them that a woman was hurting her child. It struck me how close the Help Desk was because I could hear the girl crying from there and I had no trouble pointing to them the direction where the incident was happening. I told them to please do something about it because a child was getting hurt.

The first thing that one of the guards asked me was, “Anak ho ba niya? (Is that her child?)”

Hhhmm. Duh? My apologies, but I had not time to do profiling but basing from my suspicion, yes, she was her child.

“Yes,” I said. “Please do something about it.” I did not budge until one of them turned around and went to approach the mother.

Three things nettled me with that airport incident. One, the policemen were so near and one of them even said “Ah, oo. (Oh, yes)” nonchalantly and did not take responsibility until somebody complained. Two, I understand that people were running against time and too many of them passed by the child. Some of them even had to avoid hitting her with their carts, yet none of them cared to stop or take notice at least. Three, for the life of me, I do not understand why some women even have the gall to bring children into this world if they do not have the capacity to love these little people.

I left the airport with a heavy heart. If mothers could publicly do that to their children, I couldn't bring myself to think what they could do to these children inside their houses. Also, are people too busy to notice that children are publicly being embarrassed and abused?

In the taxi ride home, Cole held my hand and said, “Mommy, you were very brave.”

I answered, “I wasn't brave Cole, I just had to do what's right or I'd have to suffer endless nights wearing a guilty blanket over me had I not given that mother a chance to feel a little fear at least.” 

Today, I'm still hopeful that I was able to award her that.  

abused children, children, abusive mother, NAIA 3, philippine policemen, child abuse, battered children

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