Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Does a Mother . . . ?

I was going through some of my old writing and found this piece that I wrote last year. I thought I'd put it out there just because I liked it, but also because it shows a stark contrast between her love--or lack thereof--for her children and God's.

This week I've been thinking a lot about God's love for me. How He sent His only Son to die in my place. What a sacrifice. What love.

"But God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

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How does a mother—a mother!—get on a train with three children and a few minutes later get off that same train with only one child? Explain that to me. Is she mentally ill? Is she just forgetful? Is she stupid?

This is an actual story that occurred here in Chicago just a few days ago. A mom gets on the train with her three children—two boys, ages 6 and 4, and a daughter, age 3. She seats her two boys somewhere apart from herself and her daughter. Was the train so crowded that the boys couldn’t even stand next to her? The woman eventually gets to her stop at 63rd street and she carries her 3-year-old daughter off the train, but leaves the boys on the train. The newspaper said they may not have even realized that their mother got off the train.

A little while later the woman calls 311 to check on her boys. What happened? Was she really concerned? Or was it guilt that got the best of her? At any rate, she did call 311, you have to give her credit for that, right? The police had already been alerted of the situation and, apparently, had the boys in safe custody. The mother is now facing a whole slew of charges.

One quick decision, a moment of weakness or desperation, has now changed that family forever. The mother, of course, will deal with the consequences of her undeniably irresponsible actions. And the daughter will most likely be removed from her mother’s custody.

But I’m thinking about those boys. Two little boys who might have been a handful for their mother. They might have been “all boy” and gotten a bit rambunctious at times. But they might have been sweet, kind little boys who gave their mother no trouble at all. It doesn’t even matter. You don’t abandon your boys on a train!

And I’m thinking about the day that those boys start thinking about their mother’s actions. “Our mom left us on the train. She LEFT us on a train.” “What did we do wrong that our mom didn’t want us anymore?” “Where did she think we would end up?” “What did she think would happen to us?” “How could she do that?”

How soon will those boys start thinking about these things? Next week? Next year? When they are twenty? Who knows. But in a world like this, with social services abundant, no child should ever have to wonder why their mother left them on a train.

It’s been said that desperate times call for desperate measures, and maybe this mother felt desperate. Yes, life is hard. Life can seem impossible some days. Illness, financial difficulties, and even raising children can make life’s challenges seem insurmountable. But there is help out there, lots of help, and I just wish this mother had stopped to think about that before she abandoned her boys. Just a moment of sanity (‘Hmmm, what will happen to us if I leave these boys here?’) might have made all the difference. Just a moment of thought. Stop. Think. And do the right thing.

Desperate times? Maybe. Desperate measures? Never.

I just don’t get it.


  1. Sad story. I can't even imagine where this lady's head was. I am preparing a post on the subject of "Mom" for Scribbit's April writing contest. I heard about it from Antique Mommy and thought "why not" enter. Your post would be a fit. see:

  2. When I hear a story like this it makes me cringe, yet for the grace of God....
    My daughter has some friends whose mom has left them to fend for themselves so often that they don't really know what a real mom is like. I can tell you that these kids (teenagers and older)have such little regard for their mom because she has had such little regard for them. In this case, it is because alcohol takes the number 1 position in her life. Who knows what people go through but it is so sad to see the children suffer for the parents' sins.

  3. Thanks, Beverly--I just might do that!

    Linda, there is sadness everywhere, isn't there? You're right--but for the grace of God.

  4. Enjoyed your post - stopped by after seeing your comment Lisa Writes.