Tuesday 30 June 2015

Why I WILL go back to Tunisia

Tunisia Terror Attack

2 weeks ago I arrived home from Tunisia with sun kissed skin and so many beautiful memories. It was the kind of holiday where dreams just came true. We had loved it so much that we were in the process of looking to go back this year, because the idea of returning to Tunisia felt like going home.

I had planned to pop into the travel agents on Friday, pull off some prices and have a look at when was best to return. I had just dropped little man off at nursery when my phone beeped. It then beeped again, and again.

I glanced at the messages 'Have you heard about Tunisia!?' it read. In my rush to get Leo to nursery I hadn't heard anything at all. I pulled up Google and nervously typed 'Tunisia' into the search box, unsure what I was going to read. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to discover...

'Massacre on the beach' read one, 'Terror attack in Sousse hotel' read another...My heart sank, it just sank. I felt deflated and sick. Really sick. I wasn't resonating that I had been in the country only weeks before, because I had been in Hammamet an hour away. I wasn't thinking 'that could have been us' because it couldn't. I just found myself lost in thoughts of  how and why? This was not the country I had fallen in love with, the people I had met, the beautiful white sand and clear blue waters were not the place for such evil. for such terror.

Of course the poor people staying at the Marhaba Hotel in Sousse have had a completely different experience. A nightmare that is being shared throughout the world, a nightmare that isn't going to end when they wake up. It's happened and there is no way back to Friday morning, to before they opened their eyes to a day that was going to change their lives beyond all recognition. 

I have been glued to the news, read everything, watched everything and I still feel the way I did when I first heard the awful events. But through it all there is one thing that has stayed with me, and that is my experience of this beautiful country and it's amazing people, and it is for those reasons right there, that I will be going back.

You might think that I am losing my marbles to even contemplate going back now, but I will not be scared to see the world through something that 'may' or 'may not happen' and I certainly don't want Leo to grow up being scared of the world we live in. If we lived our lives like this then we quite simply wouldn't leave the house. 

My head is telling me lightning doesn't strike twice, and that I was actually in more danger visiting before this atrocious act was committed.  This unfortunate, completely devastating series of events could have occurred absolutely anywhere in the world, and they have done. Cast your mind back to the London Bombings, do you still frequent the tube? It was just yesterday I took Leo on multiple underground trains to get around the city. He has absolutely no idea to what happened all those years ago, and although everyone who heads down into the depths below London is fully aware to what happened, they go down anyway. They carry on moving forward, because they have to.  

People won't forget what has happened in Tunisia, we won't forget the people who have lost their lives. We will remember them. But by not heading out into the world, we are letting them win, we are letting fear and terror strike just as they intended. Just like they want.

So when I do head back to Tunisia I will be thinking of the people who should still be here, of the nightmare that people are still living, of the family and friends that should have enjoyed the magical country just as I did, and traveled back home with stories of their adventures and sun kissed glow being a tell tale sign that they had been somewhere special, somewhere exotic. 

It takes something devastating, an evil person, an unforgivable act for the rest of the world to see jus how kind, and heroic the people who step in to help you are. Among the news of Seifeddine Rezgui being responsible for what can only be referred to as a terror attack, everyone else rallied together. Real life heroes shielded Westerners from the mad man, they took their lives in their hands and tried to help. They carried the injured, they chased the gunman. They helped pick up the pieces, because it was just as much a shock to them as it was to us.

Their country, their home, their honor and livelihood. 

This attack was the act of one man and whoever helped him, one sick man with a twisted view. It most certainly does not reflect on the people of Tunisia. What I really hope is that this is noted, that people cast their fear aside and still visit this beautiful part of the world. 

Tourism is such a massive part of these peoples lives and it's relied upon, for the moment their will be repercussions due to the nature of what has happened. I just hope one thing shines through, and that is the generosity, kindness and heroism of Tunisia. The diamonds who shone when the sky went dark and tourists fell.

That is why I will return to Tunisia.

Saturday 27 June 2015

The one where you turn FOUR

4 years old

4 years have come to pass and life as we knew it has never been the same. It's been a series of firsts, lessons and spur of the moment decisions. Together we have mapped our movements, synced our routines and created a life together, as Mother and Son.

4 years old
I have made so many mistakes but you have no idea, of course my momentary lapses in judgement have always been the very best of intentions, but they were my mistakes all the same, but to you I can do no wrong. I am your go to confidant and you are my very best friend through it all. Our fun days out just the two of us cannot be matched, and I adore that one on one quality time with you. Day trips to London or just watching you run around the park, my day is made because it's with you.

I have watched you over the years become the little boy you are today, I have relished every single minute, and today as I watch you turn 4 years old, I am smiling. I'm smiling because I am so proud of you, everything you are, everything you have become, and everything that I know you are going to be.

Bikini Body Guide Mum

Your cheeky disposition that has all the right ingredients to have me collapse into fits of the giggles. The random things you say, the even more random things that you DO! Cast your mind back to walking through Covent Garden with me little man, where you announce that you have a wedgie. YES at the top of your voice. By now you have let go of my hand, and in seconds you have wrenched your jeans around your ankles. You are stood beside me with your pants in public view to ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY! I suddenly realise and begin to help you pull them back up, and the reality is that you have now captured quite an audience. People are smiling and giggling at your mishap and they can't help seeing how endearing you are. After what feels like forever I manage to get you dressed and sort you out, and off we plod on our merry way.

The last few months have seen your personality just explode like fireworks against a nights sky. It was like one night you went to sleep and woke up a confident little boy. That for me was to amazing for words, watching you suddenly going out of your comfort zone and joining in with your peers was incredible. 

Of course with your new found confidence comes a whole host of new scenarios. Usually public scenarios where you initiate conversation with someone or where I run into someone I haven't see for a long time, and you wrap yourself around their legs... And it's only a minute or so later that they realise your with me! 

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

A few comic sentances you have come out this month are:

'No Mummy! You can't sing this song, it's for BOYS! Not girls!'

*A lady at the train station walks over the bridge and Leo points *Mummy...I want to put her on the train tracks'.

'Mummy I don't like Daisy *points at Daisy...Face palm* She never talks to me anymore'.

'Mummy it's my birthday, I am four and go to big school in September!'

'Mummy you sleep in my bed and I sleep on your arm?'

'More kiss and more cuddles!'

'I big boy and I go to the gym with you!'

'When I go to bed I will get up and go downstairs!'

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

Just hearing you get the things you want to say out, the way you say things and the over all confidence that you exude is the biggest change since you turned 3 last year. I can remember asking you some questions last year, and watching the video back it just highlights how far you have come.

As you turn Four things are changing in many senses of the word. You are due to start school this September, and I am in the process of returning full time to work, the days we had a week have decreased and we are finding a new sense of normality. 

You will be pleased to know little man that we have kept your weekly photos alive, although they are now monthly as your not changing as rapidly as you once were. It just goes to show how you have put the baby days behind you once and for all, and now you have thrown the toddler days to the wind too. You really are a little boy now, a little boy who is growing up so very quickly and navigating his own way through this crazy world we live in.

Happy birthday beautiful, 
I hope you have a magical day.


Leo's Week Photos

Growing Up...

Leo changes in new ways every day, every week.

 When Leo was born, Daddy and I wanted to capture these changes in way's of a weekly photograph.

That is what we did.

These photos show Leo's journey. His journey of growing up...

In June on Leo's first birthday, we shared Leo's very first year in photographs. 

You can see Leo's weekly changes and my baby boy growing up, right in front of your eyes.

Each year on Leo's birthday we will be sharing one more year of weekly photos.

Here is year One, Two and THREE!

Leo Matthew - June 27th 2011.