On Friday night I quickly flicked onto Twitter before going to bed. The terrible events in Paris were just starting to trickle through on social media and the news networks. At that point news was patchy, and it look as though there were under twenty casualties. I switched off my phone, with a feeling of dread and deja vu, and went to bed hoping the morning wouldn’t bring worse news. I woke up early with my son and as he settled down to watch some cartoons I took my phone to the bathroom. The news was shocking and I sat and wept. Again. With anger and immense sadness. I read through the news reports. I went on Instagram and again saw the emotion and support flowing through it. I put my support out there too.
I thought of my son sitting so innocently, laughing at Charlie and Lola, and I wondered how I would ever have the words to explain these events, the ones before and the inevitable ones to follow to him. There was no need at the moment, he doesn’t need to be frightened by the world. He needs to be frightened of odd-shaped boxes in his room at night, the boxes I can take safely away to help him sleep, I can’t take the boxes away from the world.
So after a quiet chat with my husband about the events, I didn’t go on social media or the internet for the rest of the day. My son and I spent the day at Louisiana, enjoying one of our favourite places together, laughing, talking, enjoying the exhibitions, seeing things with the joy of a child. On the way home I went into Instagram to share some photos of the day, to bring some normalcy to the day when my son saw, over my shoulder, a photo of the flowers laid outside the French Embassy. Quick as a flash he asked what the flowers were for recognising the French flag, I said someone had died in France and people were sad. Normally I find a way to explain things but not today and this was enough for him to understand.Finally in the evening I spent time reading some of the news but a little like my approach to my son I had a sense of what was enough for me. I read the factual things, I read some of the opinion articles but I chose what to read carefully. I knew enough, I didn’t need to read all the reaction, the misinformation and hyperbole that follows events like this, the facts were bad enough. This was a time for holding those dear to us close and enjoying day-to-day pleasures. So we watched Strictly Come Dancing and on Sunday we pottered around the house, baked cookies, eat homemade pizza and my son helped his dad with some DIY, feeling very grown up. It was cosy and in the evening, my son said what a perfect weekend it had been and I knew I had done my job protecting him from the world. This was enough for now as I can’t do that forever, sadly.