I’ve had it in mind to kick off this new blog with something positive and upbeat. However, last night’s events in Manchester and the horrific aftermath playing out today have put paid to those plans. Instead, I cannot erase from my mind the prospect of searching for a child, a husband or a friend in amongst the carnage of a terrorized pop concert.
My thoughts keep returning to concerts and gigs Adam and I have been to in the past at the O2, Hyde Park, Wembley, the Millennium Stadium. We went through a phase when we lived in London of throwing caution and cash to the wind and seeing anyone we possibly could, from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Rod Stewart. Concerts always hold such hope and offer an escape from everyday, mundane, ordinary life. They see thousands of people from every walk of life thrust together for the sole purpose of partying, singing, dancing and having a good time all in the name of a favorite band or artist. Concerts are fun. A first concert is a rite of passage. I still remember mine. Mum bought tickets for my cousins and I to go with her to see Counting Crows in Durban, sometime towards the end of the 90s. It was a family affair and we rocked it! I imagine that one day Squeak and Beanie will also want to go to their first concert. Fast forward a few years and it could have been us caught up in the horror of last night.
I do not want to pretend to have an inkling of what the people directly or even indirectly involved are going through. I haven’t a clue. But I look at my two vibrant daughters who already come alive to music and dance “like nobody’s watching” and I know that they will want to go to pop concerts and gigs one day. Perhaps we will even go to some as a family (before it becomes embarrassing for the girls to be seen with their parents at a gig, of course!). And where does that leave us? When it is no longer safe to attend a pop concert? To live in a world where terror and evil and mayhem lurk in amongst reveling children, teens and families? How do we keep our most precious children safe?
Let me take a breath and reel myself in…
I suppose, all that we can really do is create our own safe space for our children. Guard and treasure our marriage so that it stands firm and provides an anchor for them in this tumultuous world. Build boundaries that are clear and provide a designated realm in which the children can operate, knowing that if they overstep their bounds they will be brought back in. And most importantly, open our arms and our hearts to our children, making sure that they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they have a safe haven and are always, unconditionally, loved beyond measure.