At the end of a day, I’m often sorry for not being a better mum or a better person. Today, I am sorrier than usual.
So to my two daughters, I’d like to say it. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that you appear to be growing up in a world that is growing – faster than you can keep up – in hate.
I’m sorry that there are people in the world who think they’re better than you. Or worse, that you are better than others.
I’m sorry that I can’t tell you anymore that the good guys always win.
I’m sorry the stories you love don’t reflect real life. It’s too soon for you to know.
I’m sorry the lessons of morality I’m trying to teach you are not being played out on a global scale.
I’m sorry that the stupid, thoughtless, senseless, selfish and bigoted are in charge of such large swathes of the world.
I’m sorry that it’s now apparently okay for those people to talk about you, tiny women in waiting, as mere possessions. As objects for gratification. Bodies that need controlling and legislating. As pussies to grab at will.
I’m sorry that you’ll have to learn about differences you don’t currently see or understand. About why skin, and accent, and origin seem to matter. And I’m sorry that you will have to fight new challenges and barriers to make, keep and protect the friends who don’t happen to look or sound like you.
I’m sorry that catch phrases and vitriol have trumped – quite literally – rhetoric and reason.
I’m sorry that lies, conviction, repetition and fear have won out over wisdom, balance and moderation. That black and white – sorry just white – won out over grey. Over brown.
I am sorry that you will see and know, so much sooner than I’d like, injustice that goes way beyond your toast being cut in the wrong shape, or being sent to the naughty step.
I’m sorry that you may not become an adult who has universal, automatic access to high quality education, healthcare or housing.
I’m sorry that you will have limited options – for travel, for work, for living, for friendship – instead of the boundless possibilities you deserve. I’m sorry that you will be ring-fenced in by small mindedness and ugliness.
I am sorry that society is wilfully unraveling the progress, knowledge and burgeoning equity of the last 50 years to return us to a world of segregation, inequality, suspicion and supremacy.
I’m sorry I couldn’t do more to make this a safer, better, kinder place for you.
I’m sorry that it will fall to you to clear up the bloody mess of whatever is left over when this generation finishes it’s self-destruct sequence.
I’m sorry that when you open your eyes tomorrow on your Frozen bedsheets and offensively pink wall, everything might look the same to you. But in reality you are waking up somewhere less tolerant and more dangerous than when you went to sleep.
I’m sorry that while I was guilting over my daily failures of you, I didn’t do more to halt this massive failure, this tidal wave. This betrayal.
I’m sorry I thought it would never ACTUALLY happen.
I’m sorry about my own impotence and lethargy, and that of other middle-of-the road, middle class, I’m okay and I’m a bit busy, ordinary, everyday, okay people. We’ve let you down.
I’m sorry my love for you can’t light up more of the world you’ll have to live in.
I am only NOT sorry that you’re too young for me to have to make this apology in person. Because I need better words, and better ways to help you grow up strong enough to stand up for yourselves, and the others that will need you.
Oh, and I’m sorry that I’ve eaten the last of the chocolate fingers. It’s been that kind of day.