I don’t cry. It’s just not part of my DNA. Maybe I cried too much as a kid, maybe this character defect has just become part of my adult personality. I can’t over-analyze something like this. I have been known to watch a movie (“Up”) or several episodes of Doctor Who which have induced tears, but in general I have been deemed mechanical, emotionless and even “hard-hearted-Hannah” by one quite clever friend. I’ve also been told I have a “chip” on my shoulder in regards to living in today’s society.
This week, the shooting at Clackamas Town Center hit a bit too close to home for me. That’s a mall we used to take our kids to just to mall walk, to see Santa, or go to the show. It was a part of our weekly routine. Friday I spent a good deal of time crying. As a mother, as a human being, the events in Connecticut hit me very hard. Yesterday I also found myself crying. The neighbor boy and my son, who have always been close friends, got into some kind of scuffle and because his parents were not home and my kid came home bloodied and crying. I figured I would walk over find out what happened and try to mend a friendship. I’m not one of those kick your ass waggy headed moms. I’m more passive than most. When I got to the friend’s house his parents were home. This father has always kind of reminded me of Tickle on Moonshiners. He’s usually half-baked or drunk, honestly don’t know which, but when they said hi and asked why I was there, I said I was just checking on whatever the issue is between the kids. They’ve rough housed before, but never maliciously. As they both said the other was at fault, it really was silly and I said I just hoped they can work it out and be friends. The father sent his son inside and followed behind. As I was chatting with the mother, father came back out and said it wouldn’t happen again, the boy has gotten a “whooping” and he is the only person in the family “allowed to give beatings.” I was flabbergasted. I do not hit my children. I do not believe in hitting a child to make them understand why you shouldn’t hit. It makes no sense to me. I called my husband immediately; we decided it would be best to figure out how to help these kids, as he has heard this father in the backyard screaming at the kids on numerous occasions and the father had threatened to hit my child once when the boys were rough-housing in his house. Yes, at that point he wasn’t allowed to be in their house anymore, but the boys are able to play together at the park across the street and at school.
I work for the Dept. of Health and Welfare, so I decided to call work and find out what can be done. My co-worker at the Children Services Division told me that there is no law against corporal punishment in Idaho. If I see the child with bruises or broken limbs then he can help me. At that point, I burst into tears and wished I lived in Oregon again, where I have seen first-hand how important child safety is. When I told him it was hard to believe in the company you work for when there isn’t any protection for children, he said to me “it isn’t the DHW. It’s Idaho.” My first inclination, once I was done being sad, was to be angry with this state and all who tell me how wonderful it is. I’ve been here 3 years and I am still trying to find the gem in the Gem State. It’s hidden. It shows itself to me very occasionally, but it can’t be all bad right? I feel so frustrated right now with the violence that is not only happening in the world, in our country, but in my own backyard (literally). I have no words to explain to my children why we live in such a violent world. This week has certainly taught me how to cry, that’s for sure.
By Kara Shaw