This week is manic for parents. As we snap back into the September routine (and ask where the summer went) we’ll run around in a tizz wondering: How fast should we leave the Junior Infant classroom? Is the fourth class student too young to walk home alone? Will the uniforms fit? Will friends be made? Will bags be too heavy, lunches eaten and just how bad will traffic be?
Not that far away from the comfort of our busy days though other parents make decisions that are in an entirely different league. These are the dilemmas of desperate parents.
Should we pack up all we can carry and bring our children to an unknown – but hopefully safer, future?
Should we trust some bloke who says he’ll get us across the narrowest stretches of the Mediterranean in exchange for every penny we have and more?
Should we put our kids to sea in a raft that looks like it couldn’t stay afloat in a swimming pool?
Should we wake our children to continue on a journey to places they are barely wanted nor welcomed, as we go in search of a peaceful life?
Should I hold onto one chubby hand over another?
Should I save myself before reaching back for those I cannot live without?
Should we do all this knowing that if we don’t make it the world will not remember our forgotten babies?
The terrified passengers on tonight’s rafts and boats are desperate people, desperate parents, desperate families who risk everything because of circumstances beyond their control.
Like me, those mothers felt the same first kicks, the same excitement, the same pains of every woman who has carried her child into the world. Like my husband and I, those parents held a newborn baby and promised them every joy and happiness in the world. Like all of us they had jobs, schools and lives that seemed so busy and important; they had photo albums, birthday parties and family get-togethers; they had stupid arguments, sharp words and raised voices.
Now they have nothing.
They are us in a different time. A time when our own small island could neither feed nor sustain us. A time when we climbed on board our own floating crypts in search of hope. A time when we knew too well what tough decisions really are.
We shouldn’t pretend we don’t hear the news, that we don’t have enough to share, that we don’t care. We should make room for those that need us. We should tell them they are not alone. We should let them know they are safe and their children are safe and things will be ok. We should show them they are not forgotten.
I should help.You should help. We should help.
Here’s what you can do:
- Sign the petition to ask the Irish Government to do more to help. Just click here. For anyone in the UK you can sign a similiar petition here.
- There are numerous charities helping the refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea. Please, please donate even a few euro to Medecine Sans Frontieres, Amnesty International, or Trocaire.
- Alternatively, if you’d like to be part of a very worthy organised event the Irish Parenting Bloggers have organised a virtual coffee (or tea!) morning – check out and ‘like’ the Facebook Event page here – to help raise much needed funds for the Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity Campaign. On Friday, September 11 just pour yourself a cuppa; go to http://www.irelandcalaisfund.ml/ and make a donation to the fund (we suggest €5 per person but please give what you can) and upload a screenshot of your donation plus a pic of yourself enjoying your cuppa to your Facebook page or other social media channels and tell your followers all about it. Then just link to this event to encourage your friends and family to take part too.
Members of The Irish Parenting Bloggers have come together in a blog-hop to share their thoughts on the current crisis and to let people know what they can do to help. Click on any of the links below to read our posts and please feel free to spread the word by sharing on social media platforms using the hashtag #ReadFeelAct.