It struck me today how a mother (father, grandparent, carer) is not only attached at the heart to their own child, but to all children of a similar age, give or take 18 years.
A discussion about volunteering prompted a little personal memory journey (which, I have to add, in a car with three children was an accomplishment I'm proud of). This journey took me back to Romania and to some volunteer work in the children's hospital in Bucuresti. At the time it took weeks for me to summon courage, mettle and the sheer stomach strength not to vomit at the thought of going. Eventually I went to the cold, raw, concrete building to play with terminally ill children. I saw, obviously, very sick children - equally heartbreaking anywhere in the world. I watched their parents struggle with the idea that these western women were trying to cheer their children up with ratty broken toys, when really they would have preferred money for a kidney to stop the inevitable.
I also remember in Bucuresti a street dedicated to prostitution. I used to ask the taxi drivers to go the long way to avoid that street because I lurched with vomit at the sight of ten year old girls standing on the street dressed in clothes that they didn't even know the meaning of.
I was catching a taxi for crying out loud. I couldn't sit by and do nothing for a people who I respected foremost, but also who needed anything I could give.
I now have three children of my own. Could I go to that children's hospital and look at those hope-drained faces? I can't even stomach the image of the prostitution street from my perch in this warm house made of wood with my MPV parked outside. All I see is the faces of my own children in those places.
But that is what would make me go.