Like every mum, I rarely get to watch the news (it’s all Sophia the First and Blaze and the whatever they are...) but when I’m working, I like to have it on in the background, just so I feel like I live on a planet where there are other humans other than five year olds.
But how I wish I hadn’t turned the TV on!
Having only just regained a small amount of perspective since the small boy who was dragged to his death by an alligator, the brutal murder of MP Jo Cox and the shootings in the Orlando nightclub, I saw the body of a child lying lifeless, covered on a road in Nice after the most horrifying terrorist attack.
I literally felt numb.
I could have raced straight to school and grabbed my kids and done a runner to a remote island there and then to get them away from all of this.
These terrifying incidents have made me question the sort of world we have brought our children into!
What on earth is wrong with us?
Why so much hate and killing and sadness?
The fear of losing a child, or leaving a child without a parent, is something that I find very hard not to dwell on at times.
Perhaps because I have friends who have lost both children and parents, it is something that I think about more than others?
Or is it just because we seem to be pelted with this tragic news every week?
I feel like I have a constant pit in my stomach.
A horrible underlying fear that the world is not the nice place we so desperately want it to be for our children. And that something bad is around the corner.
Is it just that I’ve had a few hours of sleep a night for the past six years (living in a constant haze of jumpiness and exhaustion) that I’m so on edge?
Or is this fear actually very real and very rational?
Is it because I am a mother of a child with a disability that I feel more frightened of the world around my kids and more inclined to wrap them in cotton wool?
Perhaps the fear is accentuated by my heightened sense of awareness that the world is not accessible?
Life is going to be hard enough for my kiddos, without having to worry about things like murder and terrorism and darkness.
I’m trying really hard to focus on the positives right now. Especially as it is the school holidays and the kids just want to have fun!
I’m trying to quell the anxiety that plagues the depths of my mind.
To do that thing that people always tell you to do – ‘live each day as if it’s your last’.
To eat the ice cream and the cake, to go on that trip, to ditch the mundane and enjoy the world we live in.
But, no matter how much un-abandoned fun we have; how much ice cream we consume and how many times we splash in the sea, the feeling doesn’t completely go away.
Not least because both of my kids seem obsessed with the concept of dying at the moment.
Not in some sort of sinister way of course, but in the way all kids are when they figure out that people and pets do not live for eternity.
They are beginning to understand that with death, comes sadness.
They are worrying about when it will happen and who it will happen to and they seem noticeably anxious about it, asking lots of questions that I find very difficult to answer - because I don’t like thinking about the answers myself!
It has made me wonder. Are they going through this stage earlier than normal? Are they picking up on the news they hear on TV and that they hear us talking about? Has death been brought to their attention too soon?
Surely they should just be worrying about what flavour jam they want on their toast or what they want for their birthday, not when members of their family will pass away?
All you want to tell your kids is that they are not to worry and that nothing bad will happen. But that feels so untruthful and I’m always telling them that they really shouldn’t lie. So I won’t lie to you now.
I’m struggling with how to manage this topic with them and to not fear for their future.
Because I can’t promise them that nothing bad will ever happen.
I can’t promise them that the world is a wonderful place and that everyone is kind and that we are all safe. Because I don’t believe that.
I don’t think we are currently doing a very good job as a human race.
But what I can do is reinforce the positives and try to help them understand this world that we live in.
To educate them about dangers and pray they never have to endure any of the evil acts that seem to be happening every day.
And to make sure they feel loved. That they understand life should be lived and enjoyed.
And then do that with them, as much as is humanly possible.