Just yesterday police suspected Amy Henslee, a missing mom of two, of deserting her two kids after she put them on their school bus. Then came the news this morning. Her body has been found in Michigan not far from her home. She's dead.
I hate to admit this, but I drew a sigh of relief finding out she didn't walk off. She wasn't a bad mom! Just a woman in a horrible situation.
If it sounds cold, I don't mean it to be. My heart hurts for her entire family, especially those two kids. But when I see a mom has "taken off" on her kids, I have a hard time believing it. Go ahead, call me naive. Women are charged with despicable acts against children all the time. There's certainly a precedence for taking off to parts unknown for a wild ride.
But what struck me about the story of Amy Henslee was how ordinary she sounded. She kissed her husband goodbye, then took her sons to meet their bus. And then she was gone.
The type of mom who gets up in the morning to take her kids to meet their bus doesn't fit the profile of cold, callous, abusive, ready to run off. Maybe I watch too much Criminal Minds, but there's usually some sign before someone simply "snaps." And her husband's, James Henslee, description of a woman who is extremely cautious about opening the door of her home to strangers didn't strike me as the type to be wild, the type to just pack up and run off one day.
Or maybe I imbue too much of my news watching with my own sense of self as a mother. My daughter drives me absolutely batshit some days. But that's her job. And if I am completely honest with myself, even after two snow days in a row when I'm ready to tear my hair out and calculating ways to pass her off on a grandparent for a day, there's that part of me that's sad when I see her pull on her backpack and head out with Daddy for school. She can push my buttons like no other, but man I love that little boogersnot.
Reading over the Facebook page created in Henlsee's memory, I see a woman who had the same attitude as me. She was a woman who loved her kids, plain and simple. Her boys -- and her husband -- will now have to deal with the aftermath of her death and hopefully with a trial (already James' cousin Junior Lee Beebe has been named a suspect and taken into custody). But when it's all over, those kids will still have one thing to keep them going: their Mommy loved them. She didn't abandon them. It's not as good as having their Mom, but it's one heck of a parting gift.
Have you been following this case? Did you believe she just walked off?
Image via katerha/Flickr