With all the tumultuous news these days, it's easy to forget a national, ongoing tragedy — the more than 200 children who have yet to be reunited with their parents since the Trump administration forcibly separated them. For them, there is no luxury of having their attention diverted by the day's latest news. They are experiencing a profound trauma.
I write "trauma" but what does it really mean? I look to my own experience and that of my extended family for context, but it only gets me so far.
The thought of being separated from my children is horrifying to me, as it would be to any parent. I've had those moments in the grocery store when I lost sight of one of them and felt that sudden sense of panic.
My grandparents put my mom at age 16 and her two younger sisters on a plane from Cuba to the United States and said goodbye not knowing if they would ever be reunited. When I think about my grandparents, I can only imagine how desperate they must have felt to take such a fateful step.
And for my mom, she was so strong, and she dealt with everything life threw at her. But she never really talked about being separated from her parents, about landing in Miami and not knowing what would happen next.
Likewise, I can't picture what it must be like for the young children the Trump administration has forcibly separated from their parents.
The immigrant experience has always been difficult. It is equal parts hope and uncertainty. You hope you will find the opportunity for a better life, but you are unsure if you can make it a reality. But Trump has created a new immigrant experience for the 2,400 children ripped from their families after the passage of his "zero-tolerance policy" — one of long-term trauma.
Only time will reveal the full, long-term consequences on these children. However, the unmistakable truth is that separating children from their parents during a key developmental period will have grave effects on their mental and physical health.
With all that is going on in our country and dominating our headlines, it's all too easy to lose track of yesterday's issues. For some of us, we go to work and send our children to school, and we don't think about all of the migrant children who won't get to attend school this year.
We take for granted the control we have over our child's destiny, and more important, the control they have over their own.
So, for parents, grandparents, and guardians alike, when you put your child to bed tonight, hold them extra close and remember those kids who fear they will never see their parents again. Remember to fight and keep fighting until every parent can lull their own child to sleep.