Today it was too hot for the preschoolers to play outside in the morning, so they went to the rec room to burn off their energy. Apparently chalk was also involved.
After we got our charges down for naps, Greg and I went back to the rec room to mop the floor clear of body outlines, hopscotch grids and miscellaneous graffiti. (Our current pre-schoolers have no choice but to write graffiti-style. The ones who knew their letters just left for kindergarten.)
Greg mopped as I moved some mats and other obstructions off the floor. Through the second-floor windows, I could see a street drama unfolding.
Two sheriff officers and a woman with a name tag hanging from a lanyard were talking to a couple in the parking lot outside the shelter. Two children were crying and hugging their parents as the officers worked to get a third child into a car seat in a Subaru Outback. I think there was a fourth child, also quite young, but there was a great deal of milling involving the officers, the parents, two county social workers and a couple shelter staff. It was hard to follow from on high.
I felt like a security camera.
The mother was on the phone, moving back and forth while the father alternatively assisted and slumped on the pavement in despair. The officers managed the traffic as kids got in and out of the car. The staff waved observers back.
After the Subaru's passengers were secured, a similar pantomime occurred around a second car parked on the street. Officers, parents, social workers, kids, witnesses, sadness.
The father rubbed his eyes. The mother waved her paperwork in the heat. I watched from the window.
The doors on the second car closed. As he headed for his squad, a deputy patted the father on the back. The car pulled away.
The man sat beaten on a bench, listening to the woman. Then the two of them walked to the street corner. For a moment the woman covered her eyes with the papers. Then the light changed and the two of them walked south toward the Child Protection Services Building, conveniently three blocks away.
She was still on the telephone.