conflicted



My Aunt Nine and I, along with my children, witnessed something incredibly disturbing yesterday. We were enjoying an afternoon at the local pool in Chagrin Falls, Ohio (the first stop on our “Insane Road Trip”).

We noticed soon after arriving that there was a mother that appeared to be bullying her oldest son. We paid little attention at first. Honestly though, I remember thinking no matter the state, no matter the town, there are unfortunately, nasty people everywhere.

Anyway, an hour into our visit, this mother conveniently turned her back to everyone at the pool, including the lifeguard. With her large stature, she had a firm grip of her son (which we estimated was about 12 years old) holding him around the chest. She proceeded to dunk him from side-to-side, holding him under water.

My aunt and I immediately moved into her peripheral vision as we noticed this boy was clearly struggling. I even yelled to the lifeguard, “That mother is trying to drown her child.”

I believe a mother’s intuition is enormously powerful. I trust it ALWAYS. My aunt and I both had the same response at the same moment.

Well, as soon as the mother saw us close in on her, she began acting as if it was a game. She immediately released her son. Put a smile on her face. Even chuckled in a sick, disgusting way. Believe me…this was no game. Soon another bystander commented that she thought she had seen her bite his cheek earlier.

As we were walking out, I saw the boy make his way to the snack shack. I said to him as he passed, “Hey Bud, is everything okay? It looks as if you were in some trouble back there.” He was clearly taken by surprise and responded that everything was fine.

So…I was conflicted then and I am conflicted now. Could we have done more? Could we have misjudged the situation?

Briggs was mortified. He had so many questions. Why does that mommy want to hurt her son? Why doesn’t he tell anyone? I handled the questions with total honesty. I told them that the problem with child abuse is that the children are often conflicted…they love their parent but are also afraid of them. As much as they would like to tell someone, they are afraid their parent would hurt them more. I explained that kids often are not believed, and it can take a lot of time to remove a child from their home.

A nice testament to Briggs’ grandmother (my mom) is when Briggs figured he had come up with a solution for the boy in the pool. He said, “I know. Why doesn’t he go live with his grandma?” If it were only that easy.

Briggs and I prayed for only one person that night…the boy at the pool.

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