I placed a protective hand over my ever-expanding bump. Never had I witnessed something as shocking and I hope I never will again.
I was 8 and half months pregnant when I watched on live tv the terror attack in New York. It may sound selfish, but my first thought wasn’t of the thousands of people who were caught up in the attack. My mothering instincts kicked in and I felt that fierce protectiveness for my child for the first time.
What sort of world was I bringing her into, had life as I had know it changed forever, did this mean war. I was worried for her, I wanted her to grow up in a world of peace not of terror and worry. I knew from that day that things would be different, we would feel different and even look at people differently.
16 years on…….. my fear about the world my daughter has grown up in have been realised. We have been attacked on many occasions, had to pick ourselves up and try to fight evil with love. I don’t just mean the UK, the world has lived with a constant threat of terror. Just this week, London has been a target again.
But what can I do about it, I am one person in a small coastal town. I think we often ask this question about ourselves. The answer is simple, as parents, we have to teach our children different. Love, compassion and acceptance are key lessons we need to demonstrate to our children. If we want to change the tide of terror it needs to come from the next generation.
Love for the world and people, not just the ones who are close to us. Compassion for those in need and those who are not as fortunate as ourselves. Most importantly acceptance of our differences, religion, race and sexuality. Throughout my daughter’s life, I have taught her these lessons and provided her with a role-model of the kind of person I want her to be.
When your children are young it is easy to protect them from the worries of the world. Having a teenage daughter who likes to keep up with the daily news, this is not so easy. Everytime I have put on the news and seen the breaking story, my heart sinks. I know that my girl will be full of questions, opinions and worry about what has happened. I can’t protect her from hearing the details or seeing the pictures that go with it but I can try to put a positive spin on it. We talk not of evil and terror but of love and hope. I focus her attention on all the people who go out of their way to support those affected without any regard for their safety. Those strangers who find comfort in each other, the emergency services who work tireless and those who continue to live their lives despite the horrors they have witnessed.
Am I worried about her going out into the world – Yes of course. But not because of the terror threat. Every parent is nervous when their chick flies the nest. I want her to explore and find her place, without looking over her shoulder. I know she will make the world a better place, just because she is who she is. Loving, compassionate and accepting – just like her mama taught her.