I write this as I’m laying in bed watching the news having been on a weekend away with one of my best friends.
We had an amazing time and did all the things that you do when you are child free, we sat in the sunshine sipping alcoholic drinks, made no plans and went with the flow and didn’t go out to dinner until really late just because we could. We also went shopping, beautiful retail therapy without any, ‘Mummy I need a poo’, ‘can we go now?’, ‘This is rubbish’ or ‘why do you need to buy things anyway?’
But we both missed our children massively, you can’t help miss those little faces, usually covered in toothpaste and food stuffs, smiling up at you simply because you are their mum.
I don’t think there is anyone across the country who hasn’t considered the attacks in Manchester this week. Young, old, single, married, parents or otherwise how can you not contemplate the state of our world when young people are being killed leaving a pop concert. Something that is a rite of passage for any young person and a huge life experience.
I have of course considered this position as a mother. I am aware that as a child terrorism existed but I only have one memory of it. This was the IRA and it was a trip to London as I recall. My sister Emma who has severe physical and learning disabilities would often need to go to hospital in London for various appointments and I remember once we went as a family. All I remember is my mum talking about there having been the threat of a bomb nearby while we were there. I didn’t understand it or comprehend exactly what the threat was but I knew it was something bad and I was scared. I remember this feeling to this day.
Fast forward to now and as a mother of two who are sadly both acutely aware of terrorism I wonder how much of the world I should be exposing them to. Do I explain all the ills of the world to them and introduce them to the cruel side of life now or shield them for as long as I can? I think the trouble is I have no explanations myself. I don’t understand how anyone can justify killing innocent people so how I can put that into words!
The school have spoken to the children about the attacks in Manchester and the boys have seen snippets of the news. You can’t really keep it from them in the tech full world we live in. I don’t want them to be scared, I want them to be five and seven year old boys, carefree, covered in mud and genuinely believing girls smell. I want them to see all the love, beauty and magnificence that life offers.
I also want to make sure they don’t go out, ever go anywhere without me or their dad and be able to know they are okay at all times. I can’t though can I? I can’t stop the boys from growing up and living life because my parents couldn’t do that with me and I can’t stop my life to ensure they are always okay. We all have to have faith that we make the right decisions for our little people and that they will be safe. Just as I had to believe I would be safe going to London for the weekend because this is my world, my break with my friend and the place I still have so much of to see.
We can’t be scared and not do things just in case. You would never leave the house out of genuine fear if every little thing that could go wrong or might happen worried you. The parents of the children who died this week in Manchester have had their lives altered forever and in hindsight they would never have let their children go to that concert. However hindsight before th event and the ability to see the future are gifts we simply do not possess.
This is such a hard time to be a parent, it’s a hard time to be a human and to be able to make sense of all the things that are going on. But how did our fellow humans get through war and any of the many other historical events we are aware of? Without fear, with the knowledge of all that there was to be scared of but going about their lives anyway. This gives me strength, even if I do look at my beautiful boys sleeping in their beds tonight and think if only I could shield you from everything.