I was in Marseille with my family as the suspected terror attack unfolded, my friends were walking in the exact place the Barcelona murders were carried out only a day before. I have pushed my babies in their prams down over Westminster bridge where those poor people were killed all in the name of, well what I am still not quite sure. This isn’t the place for debating why some people do what they do, it’s a confession. An admission that as much as I say outwardly: “We can’t let them win, we shouldn’t live our life in fear within four walls.” These attacks are actually starting to affect me. As I sat with a coffee, babe in arms and my toddler at my feet playing dinosaurs in a cafe in Cassis just twenty minutes from Marseille my phone lit up with family members asking if we were ok. Straight away my friends and husband and I knew. We knew it was something horrid and any loss of unecessary life is heartbreaking, but thank goodness it wasn’t mass slaughter like we have seen so recently.
It turns out that the killing in Marseille wasn’t an act of terror, but does that make it better or worse. It’s heartbreaking none the less.
As I called my family to tell them not to worry in case they heard anything about Marseille, I knew I needed to defend my addiction to travelling. “Don’t be going so far,” my concerned Mum told me and for the first time ever I couldn’t protest my case. I just told her how much I loved her and how happily the children were playing. I don’t want to deny my kids the chance to travel and go to concerts. Later that day we swam in pristine waters, jumping off boats into the open sea surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Calanques. As most of the coves and caves are unreachable by road we were totally spoiled by the scenery and the exclusivity. My husband and son loved it. It was one of our best days in France and we would have missed it if were to scared to leave the house, but is that irresonspible of me as a parent? Should I park this wander lust in favour of their safety. Without a glass ball and an ability to predict the future it’s impossible to say, because the truth is we don’t know when and where these awful things will happen.
What scares me is not that mean people do mean things, it’s that they are played out on the news and the internet and I am scared hate breeds hate. I will not let my boys grow up thinking people hate and kill each other in the name of others. I am never going to win parent of the year : I don’t police bed time or force vegetables down his throat. I bribe when I should discipline I cuddle when I should chastise but one thing I am determined to do is not let them grow up thinking ‘an eye is for an eye.’ I can’t stop the tales of terror and attack but I can stop thinking it’s ok behaviour. Never before have I been so determined to making sure my children love their neighbours and respect other peoples beliefs. They are the generation that this nonsense can really screw up and I will try hard to try and protect them from that.