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.IMG_2617Finally 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.


  1. Melanie,
    I’m a fervent reader of your blog. Today though your words are difficult to appreciate. I live in Paris.
    I can’t do what you did even though the feeling of “enoughness” is screaming in my all soul, mind and body.
    Please, next time, think twice before posting : we’ll probably have other attacks. We need words of support, only

    • Forgive me. I think you misunderstand, my thoughts and support are wholeheartedly with you and everyone. This year people both here and in Paris have faced terrorism in a scale like never before and it frightens me. Everyday. But I want to protect my son from this and also I want to counter the feelings of anger I have with love as it’s the only way to try and defeat this. I am sorry if you felt I didn’t understand because I do. And my thoughts are with you and everyone in Paris right now

  2. Melanie, thank you for this post. Whilst my thoughts and prayers are also very much with the people of Paris during this time (not to mention Beirut), I think I understand what you meant.
    When tragedy strikes, we have a tendency to obsessively read every detail, and sometimes, just being aware, sending your prayers and love are better for everyone.
    With love and solidarity, hopefully humanity will move past this snseless violence and vitroil.
    Thanks again, I know this subject is tremendously sensitive.

  3. For following you since 2013, I “know” you’re a loving and lovely person.
    What I ment is : as a mother in Paris (as much as in Syria or elsewhere) it hurts to read that other mothers express publicly their choice for protecting their children with silence and diversion when at the very same moment ours are exposed so brutally and that we can’t protect them.
    Now, I won’t opiniate any further, I don’t want to hurt your feelings. I feel too much sorrow. I made a mistake to leave a comment…that in itself was not a gesture of peace when this is the only thing our children and ourselves need.
    Take care of yourself and your family.

    • Thank you for this second comment. It wasn’t a mistake to leave the first comment, I understand how you feel and it is important to share feelings especially of sorrow and pain. Sending love to you and your family.

  4. Hi Melanie,
    I don’t understand at all how this post could be offensive – quite the opposite!

    Living in France myself (thankfully not Paris) I had the exact same thoughts about protecting my little girl from the monsters in the world and from the news over this past weekend. I want her to see the world as a fantastic adventure – not to be scared of it before she needs to be. If that means that I shield her from the horrid things happening – then I will as long as possible! Because we all know how fast they grow up and then they’ll be able to see these things for themselves. Yes, others can’t shield their children from these horrors – and for that they have my deepest sympathies. But if we CAN shield them, then why is that such an offensive thing to some? Why would you want to inflict unnecessary worry on someone who can’t fully understand and create more fear in the world?

    Please continue to share, Melanie.

    • Emotions run high at times like this and there are different reactions to things, I understand why the original and subsequent comments made and I don’t believe there was any offence meant by the comments.

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