April 12, 2006

Sheltered

Yesterday my nineteen-year-old daughter told me that she plans spend May and June doing volunteer work for the Women's Shelter, a place that provides a refuge for battered women, counseling for rape victims, and help for women who need it. At her interview, the coordinator said that she will spend most of her time at the main shelter, where women take refuge from abusive partners. Since my daughter grew up in a loving home, protected from so much of what happens in the world, I suspect she may be surprised at some of the things she learns this summer. I myself am still often shocked when faced with the harsh realities of the world, no matter how many times I hear the sad stories.

I hate that my children have to learn about the violence in the world. I felt the same way when my daughter travelled to a military base this semester for her journalism class to interview soldiers – that is, young people her own age – who were being sent to Iraq. As my children get older and turn into adults, I can no longer protect them from the culture they must live in.

I know parents whose daughters have had to flee to shelters, running from an abusive partner, looking for sanctuary. I have had friends in that situation. I have heard their anger, their sadness, their desperation. I am grateful, hugely and wonderously grateful, that when my daughter goes to the Women’s Shelter this summer, it will be in the role of volunteer.

11 comments:

ScienceWoman said...

What a beautiful pair of posts. I am so proud of your children. In my hometown, the women's shelter "slogan" is "Peace Begins at Home." After my mother rescued us from an abusive marriage/father that saying became our family mantra.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Your children are destined to be great leaders! I love the White Ribbon campaign, I'll have to see if our community does something similar.

Seeking Solace said...

What a wonderful experience for your daughter. You have given your children the greatest gift, becoming well-rounded, caring human beings!

Sarah Sometimes said...

Reading your blog often has a way of reminding me how much I have to be grateful for.... thank you.

Yankee T said...

Nodding, nodding in agreement.

zelda1 said...

It's really going to be great that she gets to learn something about the bad side of human nature in a safe place. It's even greater that those lives that she touches, mainly the children, will last a life time. My children still remember the nice lady who helped us when we had our car accident. Now, far from abuse, but this woman was a volunteer for the family crisis center and the police called her and she came to the hospital and picked up my children, me, and my cat and took us to a hotel and sat with us until my friend could drive from Arkansas to Dallas to pick us up. She even bought us food and bought the children toys. They remember her to this day. While I remember her, my children remember so many details, like how she smiled and how she kept holding them and petting the cat and how it was so late and she didn't seem to mind to sit with us. They were so young, 7 and 8 and we were hit by a 18 wheeler and fortuantely only the car was hurt, but we were in a strange town and had very little money. So, she, a volunteer, took care of us for a short time. Your daughter will make that kind of impact on so many lives that children will tell their children about the kind young girl who helped them when they had to flee in the middle of the night, or when the crazy man was at work.

KLee said...

It's a testament to your wonderful parenting that your child has decided to give of her time. I'm sure she knows that it'll be difficult, but she won't realize how hard it truly will be. I know, as a mother, that you don't want her to know about all the pain and injustice in the world -- I, too, want to keep my child sheltered from all of that.

I know you're proud of her. I would be, too. She's a great woman, and I hope she's able to help people.

ccw said...

Your children are wonderful human beings.

I am so moved that your daughter has chosen to spend her time volunteering for the shelter. She will certainly see the ugly side of bad relationships, but she will also see how the the spirit can survive.

Friday Mom said...

I'm glad that she will know that place only through the eyes of a volunteer, too. May that always be!

Crystal said...

wow, it is amazing that your daughter wants to volunteer her time instead of begging you for that trip to cancun. you are obviously an amazing parent.

undine said...

Lovely post on this--you've captured perfectly that mixture of pride and ambivalence about sheltering them that we feel.