This morning I woke, like so many more, to the news that Great Britain had voted to leave the European Union. I had voted to Remain and I was hopeful that others would have voted with me. In fact 48.1% of those voting did. I lay in bed, listening to the 6.00am bulletin and I felt a huge sense of shock. My head and heart ached with questions without answers. I dealt with my feelings the only way I could and I got up and went for a run.
I ran without music, listening to my breathing and the sound of my feet pounding the paths in my park. My thoughts were for my children and what the result meant for them. Running in fear, anger and disbelief. I felt no better when I returned home. I am usually clearer of mind after a run, however, today, I felt disjointed.
When I got home to the Monkey House and I stood in the hall, the usual morning sounds filtered though to me. Baby babbling; Top was telling a tale of great importance to him; Middle crying that he didn’t want to see daddy so early in the morning (we are not entirely sure what this is about). How could life be so fundamentally changed yet completely the same all at once?
A glimpse into the future
The events of the day began to unfold. I watched as our Prime Minister resigned and read thread after thread on social media of disillusioned and angry friends and family. There was crying, biting and spitting through pure frustration. I watched and listened as a plan forward failed to materialise, looking at my children and feeling helpless.
The day continued, as I knew it would and Armageddon didn’t happen. The older monkeys went to school and Baby and I went to her swimming lesson. I love this time as we spend half an hour together in the water. It is a time when she is reliant on me to guide and help her. Once in the water, she looked at me with her big blue eyes and, in that moment, I was overwhelmed by her vulnerability.
Shortly afterwards, Baby had to undertake an unassisted, underwater swim. I let go of her underwater and allowed her to swim independently. As she broke the surface of the water, I encouraged her to reach out for security on the pool side. I took her in my arms as she clapped her hands in excitement. I knew, in that moment, that my roll was clear. My duty was to stand on her side and that of my boys. To therefore accept the decision from a democratic vote and build upon it. To make my voice heard for positive progress. In that moment, I glimpsed into a future that I could believe in for them. A European future outside of the Union.
I will continue to teach them about unity
Yesterday I voted early and spent most of my day scanning social media looking for clues as to the possible result. I felt unrest and unease all day. I read some truely dispicable comments from Leave supporters, some that were so offensive they had to be removed. In one case even reported to the police. Thus, I went to bed last night praying that good honest decent people would win through and hateful people would be left behind.
Initially, my thoughts this morning turned to a broken and angry country and a lost European heritage. A place where I should be afraid for my children and their future. As a result of our swimming lesson today, I concluded that not all of the people who voted Leave could possibly be the vile and ugly people whose words I read. Amongst them there will be others who must believe in a united future and share my aspirations for their children too. That they also want live in a safe, welcoming and prosperous country. A country where we look after our own neighbours and those who reach across our oceans for help. I, therefore, could not be part of tearing this country further apart.
In conclusion, my pledge is, therefore, that I will accept the democratically reached decision but continue to fight for what I value. I won’t shout insults and spit out my dummy. But, I will reach out to those truly decent people who want to make this work in a positive way. For my children, I will fight against the vile and evil people who are using this result to spread their poison and continue to teach my children about being European and about unity, democracy, tolerance and love.
It is my job to take their little hands and help them to travel this uncertain road to wherever it takes us. As you know, I believe in travelling, slowly and with careful thought for the consequences. If we can set a steady, comfortable pace and add some positivity, it might just be somewhere we want to go.