I still remember where I was when I saw horrific events that took place on September 11th 2001. I was a young junior account executive in a public relations firm and we watched in the conference room as the tragedy unfolded in front of our eyes. We were silent. We were gobsmacked and little did we know that for the next 15 years we would watch more horror than we thought possible. For a decade I noticed what was going on but lived relatively care free. Then I had children and everything changed. I became scared.
I became worried. Parenting has made me a worrier anyway. I can lie awake at night thinking about name labels that haven't been sewn on let alone what would happen if, god forbid, I was caught up in anything like a terrorism attack. I started to panic when I knew I had to go to London on business. And simple pleasures like taking my two small children to the Christmas Market in Birmingham City Centre became a "do you think we should avoid it this year?". Disneyland Paris trips became shelved and at the back of my mind when I am on a date night with my husband I worry "but what if something happened to the both of us?".
I am a rational intelligent human being. I have been an RE teacher for 12 years and understand the ins and outs of religions. I know that we are being held captive by a tiny minority of a peaceful and loving faith. Not physically. No-one is keeping us locked in doors but I am certainly thinking twice about things. And I don't want to live like that anymore. The worry has taken away my freedom. Which is what they want. They want us to feel the 'terror' that is in the word 'terrorism'.
I've spoken to friends about this and they feel it in varying degrees and we even have a process of what we need to do if something happens in the school I work in. But for me it has to stop. I need to turn my worry into love. I need to take the energy of my panic and turn it into making sure my two become the best they can possibly be. When we go on a trip to London, or Paris or anywhere I don't want to be looking behind my back I want to make sure that I am looking up. And around. And showing my children how wonderful the world we live in is.
I want them to grow up appreciating life. I would hate to look back and think that I had deprived them of experiences just because of "what if". Bad things happen to good people. And sadly they will continue to in one way or another. But our beautiful babies are the next generation. They will be leaders. They are the future and if we ply them and jam pack their brains with love and all the wonderful experiences the world can offer? They may be able to sort out the dreadful mess we are in. So from now on for me? It's less worry. And more living.