My heart ached tonight. This is going to be a lengthy post so please bear with me.
Living in a condominium space with a single “screened” window and no air conditioning unit, I pretty much expected the heat of summer even at night. But after going up the 6th floor (our floor) using the stairs, I needed some cold air so, I went up the roof deck and stayed there for an hour.
From the roof deck, you have to use the stairs to get the 12th floor then take the elevator from there (or take the stairs all the way if you feel like it!). So, I took the stairs, got to 12th floor lobby and in my peripheral, saw a crying little girl in pink pajamas pass by. She was crying so loud that it made me curious. So I followed her. Initially, I thought an adult was walking before her. The adult was probably just walking too fast that he/she already made a left turn so I couldn’t see him/her. The kid turned left and I did too and to my surprise, the kid was not following anybody. The little girl continued to cry and I continued to follow her from a certain distance. As we are about to reach another corner and make another left turn, I went near hear, held her hand and asked her where she lived. She was so tiny; she probably was about 2 years old and still couldn’t speak so she just looked at me and continued crying. That was the first time I got a clear sight of her face. She was a pretty girl but her eyes were swollen, probably from all the crying. She has what seemed like chocolate stain over her face and a fresh wound on her upper lip. She smelled of both poo and pee; and was soaked in both sweat and pee.
We’ve covered almost the whole floor already; the crying was so loud, but not a single door was opening and not one person is responding. Then came this woman, walking towards us. Enthusiastically, I asked, “Kilala nyo po sya?” (Do you know her?) Unfortunately, she shook her head and told me she hasn’t a clue who the kid was. I told her about how I found the kid and then asked her if she knew of any neighbors who had kids. She recalled one and so, we approached that neighbor. Unfortunately again, the little girl wasn’t hers. By this time, I was already carrying the little girl and she’s stopped crying.
Jean, the first woman I saw and asked, decided to join me in accompanying the child. We decided to go down and take the kid to the security guards. We thought the might be familiar with the kid and know who her parents are or where she’s staying.
While in the elevator, Jean and I were so caught up in our wondering that somebody in the elevator heard us and told us that she knew where the kid lives and who her mother is. She said the kid’s mother was her client and that the kid lived on the 9th floor. She also mentioned that she just passed by their unit and saw that the door was open.
Jean and I decided to alight at the 9th floor and take the kid to their unit. When we got there, the door was wide open. We knocked and knocked and knocked and probably spent some good 10 minutes knocking. We didn’t get any reply. There also wasn’t any sort of movement in the unit. From the doorstep, we can see that the TV was on but nobody’s watching. We didn’t dare enter the unit as we do not want to be charged with anything illegal.
Instead, we got into the elevator again and headed to where the security guards were. When we got there, we saw this little boy (around 5 years old) who is without any piece of clothing on playing with toy cars. Dazzled and confused, I told the stationed guard about the little girl. Unfortunately a third time, the guard was fairly new and wasn’t familiar with either the little boy or little girl. My gut feel was that they are siblings but it was hard to confirm since the little boy didn’t really like answering questions. After a few minutes though the little girl started interacting with the little boy and seeing how they were, we knew they were related. The guard said the little boy was there since 5PM. Another resident added that he was on the elevator with the two kids around that time. He said the boy alighted but the girl stayed. That was probably why she ended up on the 12th floor! He also mentioned that the little girl was still neat that time. I saw her at around 7:30PM so, the poor little girl already has been crying and wandering for two and a half hours already!
We tried asking the little boy again. We asked her where his mother went. He said, “Sa malayo.” (Somewhere far.) The guard said that earlier, the boy answered, “Lumayas.” (She runaway.) Looking into his innocent eyes, my heart broke. He was just there playing like nothing’s wrong and the tiny little girl in my arms just wanted to be carried and be hugged and be spoken to. She was a chatty little girl and she smiled a lot. She mumbled and smiled like nothing’s wrong.
WHAT WRONG THING DID THESE KIDS DO FOR THEM TO BE LEFT ALONE LIKE THAT? WHAT WAS THEIR MOTHER THINKING? WHAT IMPORTANT THING IS SHE DEALING WITH THAT SHE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO LEAVE THEM? I was screaming questions in my head.
Another security guard (a guard who knew the kids) arrived and decided that he would take the kids to their unit and stay with them until the mother arrives.
I went back to my unit feeling really bothered. A part of me was angry, a part of me was hopeful, so, I took time to pray.
Around 10pm, my boyfriend came by to visit and I told him about what happened. I asked him to go with me to the 9th floor to check. When we got there, the door was already closed. I felt relieved somehow. “Their mother’s home,” I thought. We went to the security guards to ask about what happened. The guard said he left the kids because he had tasks to attend to. He said that he couldn’t tell if the mother was there already so, we got up the 9th floor again with him to check. He knocked a couple of times but there was no answer. He said that if the knob turns, most likely the mother’s not home yet. The knob turned and the door opened. The kids were there -asleep with no mother. There went another heartbreak.
The security guard added that this wasn’t the first time it happened. He said that the building admin already talked to the mother about it but she just responded with a chuckle. Nobody really knows where she goes and why she leaves her kids.
I would like to think that she had valid reasons. Maybe she’s working. Maybe she had an emergency. But even so, is it that hard to entrust your kids to a relative or a nanny, say even, the security personnel while you’re away for a few hours? Why would you leave a 2 year old and a 5 year old without supervision? Whatever rational she had, it was really challenging to make sense of. She’s a mother. Mothers don’t just leave their kids alone like that.
You see, I am surrounded with a lot of mothers. I have my mom, my grandmom, my aunties and my mom friends. All of them, I know would sacrifice anything and everything for their children. My mom gave up her personal dreams for us. I have a friend who is probably the most hands on mom I have ever met. Recently, another friend left her job so she can spend more time with her daughter. I admire these people so much. Their lives breathe sense into the word SELFELESS.
And then there’s the mother of these kids from the 9th floor. I am in no position to say that she does not care or that she does not love her children. Probably, there are things that’s getting the best of her thus, caring for and loving her children are resting on the backseat. I really do pray that she gets to her senses, that she gets rebuked, that she gets enlightened and that her heart gets awakened.
If you are reading this and you are mom, you may be going through tough times but please do not give up on your children. Be with and for them as much as you can. Care for them. Love them. Treasure them. More than them being your own, They are precious to the Lord.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. “- Mark 10:13–16