What do mean, "why did I bring them to this country?!" It's not America's fault that your 3 year old made a conscious decision (Martin remembers choosing to do this) to ride his bike down a flight of metal stairs. Why are you blaming America? Hmmm? I seem to remember an incident involving an open window and a toddler that happened in good ol' sunny Nowa Huta...where was America on that one?... stuff happens everywhere... etc. etc. You know, all said with a hint of seriousness but mostly jollity.
Until this past week.
Now I know exactly how he feels.
And no, there was no blood involved. No trips to E.R.'s. And no one was the least bit hurt. At least not physically.
My story goes... eating out at one of our favorite quick and delicious eateries in hippie dippie Kazimierz when I look up and see... something. Something that I should not have to see. Something that my children should not have to see. But I saw it. We ALL saw it.
Well, first I informed Martin, quelled my very young and innocent children's curiosity with bold faced lies about what was really going on, and swiftly buckled them all and drove off.
*Then* I panicked.
HOW?! How could I have brought my children to this place?! To have brought my children here, to this place where they can see such things, in public! Not but a few yards away?!! How can we live in this place where people think that's ok to do, in a park, in plain view of everyone, on a Thursday afternoon?! Such boorishness, such crassness! Such a horrible display of...!!!
But really, it doesn't matter what we saw, does it? My kids see things here every day that I wish they didn't have to see. Men dragging themselves into and out of the 24 hour alcohol stores (open every day, rain or shine, Sundays, holidays, and especially Holy Days!) wasted out of their gourd, sobering up just long enough to shoot the finger at the truck that had the audacity to try and drive on the street where they were stumbling (or trying to ride their bike - so sad).Or the graffiti that not only spells out the most horrible words used to describe the co-creative act but then proper anatomy for visual aids, just in case. Mother's yanking their children by the arms, dad's telling their kids they're dumb. Older people, mentally unstable, harassing them, my children, who try and be nice, and then become afraid so that we have to duck into a nearby church to escape. Cursing! Loud, loud cursing, followed by lots of lengthy, drunken, public urination. Women/Men wearing nothing but underwear (or see-through clothing, looooots of see through clothing), because, you know, it's 30c/86f out!
Crazy old women.
Mostly naked youths (or not so youth)
Public displays of... you name it.
I just panicked.
Why did I bring them here?!
I missed our little home school community and the safety of the middle class American suburbs more than I ever have before. It's so different there! So normal, so clean, so simple. So NOT all this, this...this WORLD... that is constantly being shoved in our face, without our permission, in spite of our protestations!
It wasn't good that young Martin fell down those stairs and cut his eyebrow. It could have been a lot worse. And he will forever have the scar. But he survived. It was not good that my young children saw something that they cannot un-see. I will never forget it. But we will survive. My love for Poland has been dented a little, it's true. But over time I'm sure I'll get a good chuckle out of all of this and be reminded time and again that Poland had nothing to do with it (at least not directly, I mean, it has more to do with it than just a flight of stairs that *happen* to be in America, I mean stairs are everywhere, what we saw doesn't just happen everywhere...but I
I will not however be going back to trendy, hipster, gross Kazimierz for quite some time. At least until my mental image of it is somewhat altered, by a blanket of pure white snow perhaps? Therefore I've been forced to make my own bagels.
And that's just fine with me (and her).