Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Nearly five years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week she’s scared about what the world has in store for her compassionate little lass.
It’s been a fairly batshit crazy week in the UK. We brexited, we played football like we were allergic to the paint on the goal posts, and the entire government collapsed like a cake whisked out of the oven too soon.
I’ve fallen out with people over their vote, my daughter will most likely see less of the people I’ve fallen out with, and she’s full of questions about everything.
How on earth do I make this mess child-friendly? How can I explain that I am so replete with shuddering anger that I can’t think straight?
Her Dad and I know that the financial implications of the EU vote are huge for us and even bigger in the future for her, and the ability to cover up our worries is getting harder as she gets older and wiser to the plasters we stick over our concerns.
I took my daughter with me to vote on June 23 because she’s almost five and understands more than we give her credit for, so I thought a lesson in democracy would be a useful thing.
“We are part of a club,” I told her. “Some people want us to leave the club, but Dad and I would like to stay in it, because we think that playing with more people is better for us than playing alone.”
“We worry, we are scared, we feel powerless. Her notion that we can fix anything, that we can solve the world for her has been knocked down.”
She cried when she found out we had left the club. So did I. She cried because she loves being part of a bigger picture with her friends. So did I. She wants her school mates from other countries to stay here with her. So do I.
She has so much more empathy than many of the vicious and accusatory posts on social media I’ve seen since last week. Her limited understanding is rooted in limitless love and care. She isn’t afraid of immigration, of left wing softies, or of anyone with darker skin.
My husband and I fell pregnant under a new Tory government, and saw our livelihoods slashed by cuts, but we made the best of it and just about got by. This feels different. There is a palpable air of fear, as the true weight of the vote sinks in.
Teachers and classroom assistants are striking, which directly affects our daughter. That’s something we can’t shield her from. We are honest and open about why the strikes are happening, and combined with ‘leaving the club’ our daughter has learned that adults are fallible.
We worry, we are scared, we feel powerless. Her notion that we can fix anything, that we can solve the world for her has been knocked down.
“Her limited understanding is rooted in limitless love and care. She isn’t afraid of immigration, of left wing softies, or of anyone with darker skin.”
We, the people who never waiver in our love and care for her are falling out, getting upset, demanding change. It’s a scary old world for her to be growing up in, and I hope that she never loses her kindness.
I asked her recently what we could do to help refugees. Her response was gorgeous: “I’ve got a good idea, let’s give them a clean healthy bath, and share our cats with them and cook them food. They sleep in tents, so we need to help them build houses and find their mummies so they don’t get squished over by cars.”
This is a kid who is having a birthday picnic on the park because we can’t afford to hire anywhere for her; a kid who regularly gives her toys to charity so someone else can play with them.
She isn’t a spoiled little sod, she has less than most. So, why on earth is it so hard for grown ups to adopt the same attitude to others? I think if she’s mastered it at the age of four-and-three-quarters, it’s not too much to expect of someone who can wipe their own arse.
I think the point of this ramble is that we are heading into completely new territory for the country, and taking our kids with us into the mess.
However this is resolved, let’s just remember to treat humans with kindness, as the little ones are watching what we do and learning from our attitudes. I want my daughter to love and feel loved, regardless of the differences of opinion surrounding her. Besides, she thinks ‘brexit’ is a kind of cereal.
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Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.