One of the scariest things that can happen to a parent, or even just plain simply THE scariest thing that can happen, is when your child goes missing. Really missing.
When I worked in a kindergarten this was always my biggest fear. Even more so as my parents raised me with: ‘if it’s not yours, be even more careful with it’. Even though this was meant for things you borrowed from friends, I took this advice very, very seriously. So when it came to babysitting or watching someone else’s children, I’ve always felt, in a way, even more responsible.
One of the places I worked, me and my colleague had a very quiet intern. Very quiet. And yes, my colleague and me could talk a bit, but it wasn’t like that. The intern truly barely spoke a word, even though she smiled a lot.
One could tell she was a friendly creature by how she treated the kids. She did speak and sing to them as part of her training. The girl was about 18 years of age when she came with us, and I had, in a moment of being silly, found out she was in fact a mother of a two-year-old. I had been quite shocked about that, but in a funny way. I believe I wrote about this specific experience in another blog.
She had told us her own mother would be coming over from Russia to visit to see her grandchild for the first time.
‘My mother is a bit funny’, the intern had told us. And only because I asked. It was a bit of an understatement, too. Her mother had send her away to the Netherlands for better educational chances as the girl was quite gifted when it came to Gymnastics. Then, when she was here, she fell pregnant at the age of 15. Het mother, having been a teenmom herself had been furious and cut off all contact after that. So her coming to meet her grandchild really was quite special.
One morning, I remembered this again. As the girl didn’t talk if you didn’t ask anything, I did have to keep up with the things we spoke about. Otherwise I wouldn’t know how to act around her, as I would, quite simply, have no idea what was going on inside her head.
So I asked her: how are your mother and little one doing? To which she answered, shockingly:
‘My Mom took her away. She didn’t think I was raising her well enough’, she seemed relieved to have said it, but to tell you the truth I was ready to buy a ticket to that darn country and tell that grandmother what I thought of her action?!
‘How did she manage that??’ I asked, shocked. It turned out that the house the girl was living in with her daughter, had a code to lock the doors. Mom had known the code and simply took her grandchild. Travelling by train, apparently she didn’t need a passport, as that was still present in the room.
‘How did you manage to keep so quiet?!’ my other colleague, whom I told the story, asked the girl later on.
‘I just live day by day. It’s the only thing I can do at this moment’.
In the end, the police of both countries were contacted. The grandmother and the grandchild got daily visits from the police until the court there decided that grandmother had unlawfully taken the child. It was about three months before they were reunited. It was all well in the end, but it ended my fairytale of grandmothers being nice persons by defenition.