Today my children have eaten ice cream and chocolate. They have had endless kisses, cuddles and tickles. They have played with whatever toys they wanted- even the ones that take me three hours to pack away when they have finally gone to bed. Their tantrums have been cheerfully tolerated. Chores have been put on hold while we’ve played and laughed together. And they have fallen asleep completely oblivious to the horror and evil that exists in the world we live in.
That your child can go out to a pop concert and never return is unimaginable. Horrific. Words cannot even begin to describe the agony that must be felt by all those affected by last night’s terror attack in Manchester. That the person you have cared for from a tiny little baby, tending to their every need and doing all you can to keep them safe and happy, can just suddenly be gone without warning or the chance to say goodbye is utterly unthinkable.
Today the television has remained off all day. I couldn’t risk The Toddler seeing footage of any of the horrific scenes that unfolded in Manchester last night. I couldn’t stand the thought of my bright-eyed and inquisitive two-year-old looking up at me and innocently asking “What happened Mumma?” Because one day- and probably sooner than I’d like- I will have to explain it to her. One day I will have to explain to both of my daughters that there are people in this world who want to hurt us simply because of the life we lead.
How can I explain something to them that I as a fully grown adult can’t even understand myself?
I dread the day this conversation takes place because it will no doubt mean another of these horrific atrocities will have taken place. And because the knowledge that things like this happen will surely mean that life for my girls will always be a little worse and a little sadder.
And most of all because for the first time, unlike with monsters, spiders, creepy crawlies and the dark, I won’t be able to look them in the eye and promise that I will protect them. This is a completely different type of monster that mommy just can’t protect them from.
For today, and for as long as possible, I want them to remain in the beautiful, carefree, innocent bubble of childhood.
I want my children to grow up and go out into the world, taking life by the scruff of the neck. I want them to live it to the full, travel the world, do everything that they want to do. I want them to do more and achieve more than I ever could myself. Even though events like last night make me want to wrap my girls up, bolt the doors shut and keep them with me forever, I know that can’t be the case.
I know I have to fight that burning desire to wrap them in cotton wool and instead encourage them to live life to the full.
I know I will drop them off at concerts, parties, gigs and festivals. I’ll be their taxi service to the airport or the train station as they jet off on another exciting adventure even though every fibre of my being will be screaming ‘don’t go, stay here’. I know I have to otherwise terror and hate wins.
I have to help my girls see there is more love than hatred in this world. I have to help them be full of love themselves and teach them we are all equal. But most of all I have to cherish them and their awesomeness.