I’m living in ‘Terrorist’ London with a Child. The world seems to be an especially dark and scary place at the moment. Each time we turn on our televisions more and more bad news seems to be occurring and as parents our first instinct is to worry about what environment we are bringing our children up in and living in Central London, this more than ever seems front and centre in our thoughts.
My heart breaks each time I hear about what seems to be a never-ending barrage of terrorist attacks on the city, a city that I love and adore to my bones, the place that I was born, the place I have chosen to stay and create a family in, a place I will defend until there are no more ears to deafen. But, recently I’ve felt another emotion: pure, white, raging anger as these cowards brought their evil to my doorstep.
I grew up in Borough, my mum still lives within a ten-minute walk to the market. I know the nooks, the crannies, the best pubs to go to and the best places to eat there. It was my childhood home, a little pocket of joy before you hit the riverside. Then it was attacked. Nobody should be out on a Saturday night and not come home, but that is exactly what happened and the horrors that took place on that night are well known to everyone now.
It’s hard as an adult to understand why a human being could be so evil to another, why they think they have the right to take the life of a total stranger. It’s even harder to try and even think of a reasonable answer to give a child when really there isn’t one.
I have a one year old son and he currently lives in a beautiful safe bubble where he knows nothing of the wider world; he doesn’t know people who carry out these attacks exist, all he knows is love and of all the things I wish for him as he gets older this is the one I wish wouldn’t change. Having to try and explain to a child what has happened, for them to have that fear it could happen to them or somebody they love, is truly the most heart-breaking of truths that have to be told.
But you know what? It’s ok to be scared, it is ok to worry about going into town or maybe skipping that tube journey in favour of taking the bus. It’s ok to take a step back until you feel comfortable in doing those things again because these attacks shake us all.
As a born and bred Londoner; growing up in the 80’s and 90’s there was always the constant threat of IRA attacks but I can never recall a time my family allowed this to stop us doing things in town. We still went to museums, day’s out, picnics in the park, shopping on Oxford Street, all the privileges living in this wonderful city brings, fear was not going to rule then and I will not let it rule me now.
I cannot wait for my son to become aware and excited to explore London, to show him the places I went to growing up, to visit the wonderful, historical, interesting buildings, museums, attractions, park’s and so much more London has to offer. I want him to make this place his own, to be able to say ‘I’m a Londoner’, to be proud to call this his home as much as I am, but to allow this I need to be brave. Of course I worry about taking my son into popular crowded spaces, on the tube or even walking over a bridge to stop and enjoy the river view. I worry these attacks may never stop, that I will become too overprotective and he will never be able to enjoy the city like I did in my youth, but then they have won, haven’t they? At least that’s what I need to keep telling myself. So I square my shoulders, load up the buggy and plan our next adventure.
This city belongs to me and the millions of others who live, work and love it, not the so-called terrorists who want to damage it, to split us apart and scare us. I know as soon as I have a free weekend, I’ll be taking my son to visit Borough Market; to people watch, try an array of amazing food and take back that piece of home that they tried so brutally to take away.
I mentioned above how I wish my son would never need to know about evil in the world, but I know even though I will someday need to tell him about it, I can also show him the good. The emergency services who protect and care for us daily, strangers who come together to help each other when it is most needed, protecting them with little regard of their own personal safety. That is my London, the most beautiful, diverse, magical city in the world.Loving our work? Get more of it in your life by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Read more of our brilliant blogs here.