The world has been a scary place of late. It feels rather on edge, like we’re waiting for the next shoe to drop, there’s a feeling of tension. Perhaps it’s my own anxieties magnifying the scale of it, but the world is some days so dark and gloomy with news of murders and health cuts and imminent doom that all I want to do is duck my head beneath the duvet until it’s all gone away. They’re scary times. We think we’re doing so well, and then BAM, a shooting, a terror attack, a tragic death rocks the world. They are times that make me wonder if having brought life into the world was such a good idea – this isn’t a situation you’d willingly throw someone into. Times where we have to look on the bright side just to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve been trying to write this post for the past few weeks, ever since the tragic mass shooting in Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. 49 people out to celebrate Pride, out clubbing, enjoying themselves for the night. 49 people who never came home. 49 people doing the same thing as many of my friends had done that same night, just in different places. Following the news that morning that was filtering through of a hostage situation, watching parents cry openly on news channels willing there to be any news that their child was to be alright. I watched this as I ate my breakfast, watching my own child play with his tractors and fire trucks, making mess. I found myself thankful for the mess because that meant he was here, home with me, safe from the scary world.
I shared a post a few days later on social media, from a woman who had seen her daughter practicing the technique given by her pre-school for students to use if they were in a lockdown and were stuck in a bathroom. Her child, at the age of three, was practicing a potentially life saving technique for the possibility of a shooter entering the bathroom. She on first glance found it to be a cute, interesting picture of her kid getting up to no good, but onÂ asking her daughter, realised just what she was doing. Let that sink in for a minute. Three year olds, practicing techniques for the possibility of being faced with a shooter in school. It’s something we don’t have to think about in this country really, for which I am very thankful. In the United States, where this woman and her daughter live, gun violence has become part of an everyday reality. Tragedies like Newtown, Orlando, Aurora have all happened in recent memory without any change in gun laws, and seemingly without much of a movement to enforce stricter controls over who can and cannot have access to these lethal weapons. Lessons are not being learned, and that is a scary reality that I’d rather not have to address in life. Unfortunately though, these stories just keep coming, these events keep happening and there’s no real way to block that out.
And then on Friday morning, we woke to discover that the UK referendum to decide as to whether or not they would remain as part of the European Union did not go the way we had hoped. Brexit is now a reality. The economics grad in me is following this with great interest, but also somewhat looking through my fingertips, hoping that some great intervention will happen and put everything back onto the straight and narrow. In the last few days, there have been dire economic consequences, messages of hate coming to the fore of people from other backgrounds and more than one comparison to 1930s Germany. As one or two people have said on Twitter, it’s like being in Europe just before war broke out; we all are in a state of “What do we do now?”. This leads me to worry, worry about our own economy, worry about the job security that we have and how it will affect companies we work for. It is worrying that friends living in the UK for study and work may face increased pressure in their day to day lives, and that friends from there who live here may have to deal with the conundrum of visa applications and paperwork just to keep living their daily lives.
I arrived home from a visit with the lovely Suzy (where we fitted in some Gruffalo hunting and a manicure, courtesy of my 4 year old nail artist) to find E scooting for the first time. In control, on his scooter, up and down the long gated driveway outside our apartment. He’d tentatively started earlier that evening, and by the time I spotted it, it was confident. He was well able, not in need of any help. It struck me as being one of those BIG things, this one to be happy about. My baby was gone before my eyes and in entered full on childhood, of independence and scooters and a possible end to the buggy days growing ever closer. It’s been a few days and I’m still a little stunned by it. That sounds stupid, in the grand scheme of things it isn’t big, but it was exactly the kind of thing I needed to see. Out of all the dark and gloom, scooting along with the odd “Wheeeee!” thrown in for good measure, comes my little ray of madness, breaching independence ever more with each day.
It’s important to focus on the good parts, even when everything else seems to be crashing in around us, to keep sanity in our lives if nothing else. So for this week, that scooter with the little boy who is growing up so fast, scooting around to his heart’s delight, that’s what I can focus on. Everything else will happen anyway, while we’re off living.