When I was seven, my favourite things weren’t very complicated. I loved my aunt’s grilled cheese sandwiches that were made with an old-timey heavy sandwich press. I loved Bobby Orr and just about everything to do with hockey. I was learning to play baseball. It wasn’t actually baseball, or even softball. It was fastball. The balls were a little smaller and a little harder and a little heavier than softballs. Pitchers threw with a windmill motion. Absolutely as hard as they could. It felt a little dangerous. It was dangerous.
When I was seven I was in grade two. I liked school. I knew all the answers in math and my teacher had to ignore my enthusiasm regularly to give the other kids a chance to answer. Looking back, I suppose I may have been a little obnoxious about responding to questions but at the time I think I would have said I was simply excited to participate.
When I was seven, my uncles took me to see a Herbie the Love Bug movie. There was a Volkswagon Beetle in the lobby of the Capitol Square movie theatre and it was filled with balloons and there was a contest to guess how many balloons were in the car. I remember the ride to the theatre. Paper Lace’s The Night Chicago Died was on the radio and as we turned onto Wellington, by the Chateau Laurier, the sirens in the song kicked in and I remember being a little scared and a little thrilled.
When I was seven, there was an elderly man who was a crossing guard who ensured that I got to school safely. I had hockey and baseball coaches who attended to me when I got hurt. They massaged my charley horses and said soothing words to me and dried my tears when I felt pain, physical or otherwise.
When I was seven, I never felt threatened, I never felt unsafe, I never felt hungry, and I never felt abandoned.
The average age of the children who have been taken from their parents along the southern border in the United States is seven.
And to hear their crying, to see them weeping, it’s heart-crushing. Children sobbing sound the same in every language.
“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”