Saturday, 21 September 2013

Kate McCann, Horror Stories and a Prayer to No-one

Being mother to a girl of three, I can identify more than ever with the plight of Kate McCann and watching the latest news of her court case brings everything back.  Whatever any of us may privately think about the circumstances of Maddie's disappearance, we can all appreciate that her punishment at losing her little girl outweighs any momentary negligence or stupidity - something she must beat herself up for daily.

When I see my little girl - naughty tendencies and all - developing her personality and, for the first time, becoming someone I can really "know", I can sense Kate's loss all the more.  If this little one was removed from me in any sense, I can't imagine the size of the gaping hole she would leave and how I would ever get out of bed again.  Imagining the worst, picturing the first days when she cried for her mummy, then - perhaps worse - knowing that I had probably been forgotten in the mists of time, would be heartbreaking.

Although I would never leave Lily alone in an apartment, we all do stupid things as parents and- in retrospect - we think "perhaps I shouldn't have done that".  Whether it's leaving them in the car as we dash in for our purse, or losing sight of them in the supermarket as we dither over which brand of laundry detergent to purchase.  That momentary lapse in good parenting can be all it takes.

One thing that Kate's experience has done, I'm sure, is protect a whole host of little children by serving as a reminder of what can happen when our parenting falls short.


My friend Liz is staying at the moment and we decided to walk the boys into town in their pushchair (giving Liz a considerable workout when pushing the double buggy back up the hill - it's quite a feat!).  When we arrived home, it was to a trail of blood drops leading up the stairs.  Ray - former Health and Safety guy at his last job - had decided to ignore the warnings on the box of the new sink to "wear gloves" and promptly cut his finger.

Being a man - of course, he decided that a bit of kitchen roll strapped round with tape was quite enough medical attention - refusing any attempt I made to wash or (god forbid) disinfect his wound...  Subsequently, this delightful bloodsoaked rag kept dropping off  during the course of the afternoon, and I have spent most of the evening finding and removing blood spots from various places around the house...

It does make you realise how easily things can happen - even if you're supposedly "clued in" to the dangers though... sigh  - they don't pay me enough in this madhouse...


I used to be religious - in the way that a child believes in Santa - unquestioning literal belief in the Christian god.  It never really brought me much comfort though: my focus was always on the hellfire and damnation that would no doubt come my way for my many, many childhood sins.  Stormy nights had me cowering under the covers, convinced that the end of the world was nigh and I would be judged...

As I grew, my belief remained fairly unchallenged and it's only in recent years I've lost my belief in God.  In a way this has been a blessing (sorry God) - not because I can now go out and covet my neighbour's wife (or whatever) but because religion only really brought me grief and very little comfort...

I do miss, though, the feeling that someone was listening while I prayed - but wanting there to be a God : someone supervising the chaos below and giving a damn, doesn't make one exist.

The idea of God now seems very far-fetched to me and I doubt I'll ever regain my faith.

Nevertheless, near-misses and Kate's awful experiences make me want to send a prayer to the universe to keep my family safe and watch over us - even if my words are disappearing into the unknown, unheard...

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