We (Katydid, Rozmo, Deb and I) witnessed a rather disturbing scene at BikeFest this weekend. It has been on my mind ever since, but I didn't want to spoil the happiness that was the bike ride with this scene that was ... not happy.
I noticed a group of people down below us, on the Riverwalk, because there appeared to be some tension. Then a container of ... something ... french fries? ... onion rings? ... went flying. There was a little girl involved, probably about two and a half years old. There was a young woman, an older woman (holding the child), and an older man. The older two appeared to be parents of the young woman and grandparents of the child.
Their voices became louder and I could hear them clearly all the way up where we were standing, probably about a hundred feet away. (Give or take ... I'm terrible with distance. Which probably explains why I continue to choose to ride the century route when I could be watching football.)
I could clearly hear the young woman (who wasn't teenage young, just younger than the other woman, obviously, since that turned out to be her mother) saying, "Show me the paperwork. Show me the paperwork. Show me the paperwork or give me my child."
It was obviously a custody dispute, and I wanted both to turn away because I felt like a Peeping Tom and to watch as closely as I could in case the verbal dispute became physical. I had already heard someone ... maybe BOTH women ... saying, "Don't touch me! Don't touch me!" The little girl, thankfully, was not crying, but I couldn't stand the thought that she might get caught between these two seemingly irrational adults. Well, one was more irrational than the other, but the situation was getting out of control.
She had gone to take pictures down on the Riverwalk, and the argument moved down her way. The father had come up the steep stairs to where we were standing, presumably to wait for police to arrive. Rozmo had stumbled upon the two women arguing, asked if everything were okay, and when one said "Yes" and the other said "No," she tried to mediate.
That's Rozmo. That's the way she rolls. She has SUCH a way with people, and especially children. She was able to calm both adults and get them to walk up to where we were standing, and she kept the little girl engaged in conversation the whole time.
I won't bore you with ALL the details, but the woman had lost custody of her little girl because of a drug issue, and the grandmother DID have paperwork, which she was only willing to turn over to law enforcement. I have no idea how this scene came to be played out on the Riverwalk, unless there was an issue with visitation or something. It seemed a strange place for such a situation to get out of hand, without any social services or law enforcement people around to keep things under control in the first place.
Sadly, I didn't find the situation with the mother and the drug habit and the loss of custody surprising at all. It's what we hear all the time these days. What I DID find surprising was that the mother who has lost custody is an OB/GYN but has no job now because of her drug habit. She has no right to have her child now because of a drug habit.
How tragic. It's tragic for ANYONE, I realize, but to think someone with the intelligence to go to college, complete medical school, survive the internship and residency, and become a practicing medical doctor could throw everything away like that just because of drugs just boggles my mind.
I hurt for the little girl. And the grandmother. And the grandfather.
And the mother.