Every child is my child. Every. Child.
I was at work and someone shared a funny video where a parent gave a toddler some wasabi. The little girl could only meekly peep out “Help me” before the parent in the video began laughing. Other people found it hilarious and adorable. I left the room to cry a little. That little girl with watering eyes pleading for help was my child.
We were watching movies that I hadn’t seen in a long time. A common movie trope, the crying child, made its way into the plot line. Only the child was blue. And a fish. Okay, it was Finding Dory. I was having a panic attack over a lost animated fish.
But that tiny fish looking for her parents and sobbing was my child.
We were at the park and Alice was playing on the splash pad. It was her first time venturing into the sprinklers and she was tentative. But all the other kids were having so much fun and I could tell that Alice wanted to laugh and run with them. As she slowly took one step in front of the other to explore the water, a little girl ran past her to push a laughing little boy down. Parents rushed in. One consoled a sobbing two-year-old while the other child was put into time out on the bench. A heavy look of shame and guilt clouded the pusher’s face. Alice looked at me as if to ask where the happy smiling children went.
Both of those unhappy children were my children.
A friend of mine has a child who gets bullied and doesn’t want to go to school anymore. Another friend’s child nearly choked and died from trying to eat a piece of plastic he found on the floor. I can’t watch any of those commercials showing dying and starving children without bawling my eyes out. Every sad, tiny face in a book or movie just yanks on my heart.
They are all my children. I see Alice in every single child I encounter, and when they cry, it’s just like Alice is crying.
Call me oversensitive if you want. I don’t care. My boundless compassion and empathy make me the amazing human being that I am. It’s also why I’m awake drawing comics at 3:00 AM instead of sleeping. It’s why my chest hurts and nightmares plague me whenever I close my eyes. There’s too much going on right now and I’m feeling so intensely that I have insomnia.
In parenting, I subscribe to the philosophy as set forth by Doctor Who in “The Beast Below”—“Never get involved… except when children are crying.”