One mother’s reaction to the Syrian refugee crisis


I don’t talk about politics or religion or sex on my blog. Well, other than to occasionally make fun of or rant about Donald Trump, but come on, it’s Donald Trump. I don’t talk about it because I am not prepared for the onslaught of opinions and vitriol.  I don’t talk about religion because I do not care about religion. I don’t talk about sex because I’m a prude.

I’m not viewing the Syrian refugee crisis from a political or religious angle. I just see waves and waves of people in need.

This morning, I watched a video of Elizabeth Warren speaking about visiting refugee camps.

She talked about parents who were putting their children on pieces of plastic to be set adrift in hopes of finding the Greek isles. She said they were using cheap little pool floats as protection.

Against the Mediterranean sea.

I ugly cried. I couldn’t stop sobbing.

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The desperation in this act leaves me breathless. The thought of a Syrian child with a brightly colored piece of inflated plastic around their waists is too much to process.

I can’t process this.

I am not a callous person. When people die, I’m sad. When school rooms full first graders are gunned down, I feel profound sadness. When office buildings are reduced to rubble and thousands of people lose their lives, it makes me ache. But I can process tragedy. I can process the tragedy and I can live.

I cannot stop seeing these children wearing cheap pool floats. I can’t stop being sad.

I spoke with a friend at today about how I was feeling. He responded by telling me about a charity that is helping the poorest of the poor to illustrate that there are people who want to help, regardless of who is in need. Mana. This charity provides children, who are in the most peril from starvation, with a food substance that can save their lives. They are basically little biscuits made from peanuts, milk, and vitamins. The product gives children what they need to stave off death.

I live paycheck to paycheck, you guys. I have for years. I’m an expert. Tomorrow is payday. Today, I have very little. I sent some of that “very little” to this charity because I had to do something. I had to feel like I was helping someone.

So, I felt mildly better. Between the charity and a xanax, I could get through the rest of the day without crying at my desk.

I came home from work today and walked out to my deck. The weather is cold, but not freezing. There has been a steady rain pissing here for hours now. I stood there in the rain and thought, wow, I am mildly uncomfortable under these conditions.Which made me think about children, who right this minute, are on a goddamn piece of plastic just hoping they make it to the Greek isles. And when they get there, that they are not turned away, or sold into sex slavery.

Now I am back to feeling like I should do more. I don’t know what to do. I want to do something. I want to be able to process this and move on. I want to make a difference. I want the other humans to be safe and fed.

I don’t even have it in me to get upset with the people who feel we shouldn’t help the Syrian refugees. It just makes me sad. Why? Why do so many people feel this way? We all live here on this planet. The borders are meaningless…made up…it’s just a planet. Why wouldn’t we help each other?

Why don’t we want to be the good guys?

If anyone has suggestions or resources for how we can help those in need, please post your thoughts in comments.

I really want to be one of the good guys.

You know, regardless of our individual beliefs, we can all make a difference.

If you feel your time or money would be better served closer to home, then that’s awesome. Take a few loaves of bread to a food pantry or donate to a homeless shelter. Donate some time or money to an animal shelter. I don’t care what you are passionate about. I don’t care what your politics are. I don’t care if we if we would disagree about everything under the sun.

Just do something positive.

If we all did something, think of the mountains we could move.

Here’s the link to Mana again.

If you are just tuning in, the House Guest series introduces emerging and established voices in the blogger world to the Housewife Plus audience. The writers featured here share their stories about parenting, marriage, and life in general. They are sometimes serious, other times funny, but always real. For information on how to be featured in the House Guest series please contact Sarah Cottrell.

rubber-shoes-in-hell-from-scratch-trans-3BIO: Michelle Poston Combs can be found at her blog, Rubber Shoes In Hell. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Mid, In The Powder Room, Blunt Moms and Better After 50. She had an essay in Jen Mann’s latest anthology, I Still Just Want To Pee Alone. She is also in the 2015 Indianapolis cast of Listen To Your Mother. Follow Michelle on Facebook and Twitter.


Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Disney’s Babble and Momtastic. She is a co-author in six books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and VICE Tonic.