In just over a month you turn 3 and wow, what a year 2016 has been. This is just your second year on planet earth and well I don’t know how to tell you this, but this has been what they call “annus horribilis”.
Just the sheer volume of artists popping their clogs was not a good start. This year we lost an artist formerly known as formerly known as Prince (don’t ask), a singer and songwriter named David Bowie, a boxer named Muhammed Ali, a comedienne named Victoria Wood, and we even lost Snape from Harry Potter. These are just a few of those who bit the stardust this year and they were revolutionaries, artists with such extraordinary talent they will undoubtedly live on as posthumous legends for you as you grow older but it is a such a shame you never experienced their greatness whilst they were alive. Oh and we also lost Brangelina this year but to be honest that was probably the most gratifying moment of 2016, particularly if you were team Jen. Which Mummy was. All the way (just ask Nanna to show you some pictures of Mummy’s hair circa 96).
Then there were sadly too many incidents where innocent people were murdered in their masses. People going about their daily lives. I wish I could explain to you why. Those who carried out the murders have darkness in their hearts and they are driven by a cause that justifies their need to terrorise people whose only crime was to go to a festival, go on holiday, get on a plane, go to church. It saddens me to tell you about this, but it is what divides our world and has done for decades now. They say the best way to defeat these individuals is to carry on life as normal and to not be afraid. But the truth is, Mummy was afraid sometimes and Mummy would hate herself for her mistrust in people. I wish we lived in the superhero universe you adulate and we could tell apart the goodies from the baddies.
Then Brexit came and we, “Great” Britain, decided to leave the European Union. Half of the British public said no to unity, multiculturalism, and progression, and said let’s (fist pump) make Britain “great” again by putting up walls and closing ourselves off from the world. Mummy was not part of this half. She was proud to be a remainer, she was proud to have a degree in European Languages, to have experienced different cultures and she was proud to be a part of Europe.
Now I do not know what effect this will have had on our country by the time you are older but I can only apologise on behalf of my voting generation if this has been a detrimental one on your prospects, opportunities, and quite possibly your holidays. The only explanation I can offer is that perhaps that fear and mistrust that I spoke of before has led certain people in this country to believe that we would be better off on our own, like that schoolkid who shuts himself off from his friends and sits in the corner, kicking his heels and sucking his thumb.
And now this week, the US voted Donald Trump as their president over what would have been the first female president, Hillary Clinton. Now Hillary was not perfect, and she has shown some pretty questionable attributes herself, but at the time she was the lesser of two evils. Many Americans voted for a man who talked again of making America “great’” again but his version of “great” is wildly different to others’ who will sadly have to live in his world. He has been openly offensive to women, does not believe that people of a certain background or religion should be allowed into his country, believes that business prosperity is more important than the air that we breathe, is against the right to abortion, and has been bankrupt on several occasions. Many people are saying that it was a vote for white supremacy, and this is a betrayal of minorities and women. But please remember, that there are many Americans who did not vote for this man and who did not believe in him and who wanted and hoped to have the first ever female president. Just like there are many people who did not vote to leave Europe and much like our country, America is very deeply divided. But I believe in the fight between good over bad, I believe in your future and in my mind and many people’s minds that is one where the goodies will always prevail.
I have read this week many messages to the daughters and girls of our future generation. Which is exactly right. What sort of a message do little girls get when a man like this is voted for by the public? That no matter how hard they work or prove themselves they will never smash the glass ceiling, or overcome the many barriers of equality, and they will still have to be the subject of bloody ‘locker room banter’? They deserve to have male figures who support their progression and place on this earth. I hope that when you grow older there has been a female president, and I hope she bloody well rocked it. And I hope you have a strong-minded young lady by your side (if a lady is your partner of choice of course) who gives as good as she gets – if your toddler years are anything to stand by she might well have a challenge on her hands. But Theo, here is why I write this to you now. If we are to learn anything from this year, we must teach you, our future generation, to be better. Right now I am little ashamed of humanity, it has gotten a bit ugly for my liking.
So this, my son, is what we shall call the Great Again guidelines. Now Mummy is not claiming to be a beacon of perfection but this is why I’m trying to raise you to be greater than me, and most importantly much greater than those small-minded individuals who are currently shaping our countries and the way you may view things in the future. I want your generation to be the pillar that restores the foundations and that future generations look up to. So here goes….
If you believe in something fight for it. Fight for the injustices in this world, don’t let them pass you by without trying to make a difference. Experience a different culture, language or way of life. Never hurt anyone intentionally and don’t wish ill will on others, it will only come back to you tenfold. Be respectful, inclusive and accepting of others, regardless of race, gender, background, religion or sexual orientation. Do not treat anyone as your inferior. Be a gentleman, trust me this will go a long way. Listen to others opinions even if you don’t agree with them and if you do get into a debate, don’t resort to name calling. Appreciate the value of hard work. Be confident in who you are but please don’t be arrogant. Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Never boast about money or status, and don’t judge others on their money or status. And lastly be thankful. We are only on this earth for a very short time, we must appreciate how far we have come and never take our lives and the lives of others for granted. Which is why it is so important to set an example because Mummy for one wants to shape this world and humanity into something you are proud to be part of and one which we can, with hands on hearts, truly call “great” again.
You have just woken up and are calling me from the other room to come lift you up, so that my boy is exactly what I will do.
Love you to the moon and back, love Mummy. X