J and I did a little shopping today. We both enjoy shopping in very small doses, but we hate the mall. The only thing that makes the mall worthwhile is the kid-watching. As most people know, there are kids everywhere at the mall. While that is often fun, today it was a little unnerving. There were lots of unhappy screaming kids, and neither of us tolerates this well when we are already in a place we don’t enjoy. We saw some really cute little ones though, and we looked at fuzzy baby sleepers too. We did this to escape an image that made us both sad and furious.
There was a dirty little girl–probably three or so–walking through the mall. She was filthy. Her hair was ratty, her clothes grimy, her face covered in dirt and possibly food. She was walking with this glazed-over look on her face, and she appeared to be by herself. It didn’t take long to spot her parents about fifteen feet ahead of her, both extraordinarily thin, both a little grimy themselves, holding what looked to be a 7 or 8-month-old baby. When the mom turned around to see if her daughter was still there, J and I both knew in an instant–she was a crank user. She had that unmistakable sharp jawline, the puckered mouth (due to missing teeth), the sallow and sunken cheeks. The look is unmistakable, especially when one lives in an area as populated with meth addicts as ours.
This is when we ducked into a store to look at baby clothes.
When I have to drive through the city where we were shopping today, I sometimes see this woman dealing drugs pushing her baby in a stroller. She’s there on the street with these disgusting, sunken-cheeked men surrounding her baby stroller out of which she is selling them crank. Yep. She keeps it right in there with the baby.
Frankly, it’s infuriating to see these people, to know how easy it is for them to have children when having children is the last thing they should be doing. I don’t know what to do with the anger I have about this. I want to save their children and help them find good, healthy homes where they’ll be properly cared for. I want the parents to be kept from having more kids that they will expose to this lifestyle. More than anything, though, I want to scrub these images from my mind.