I’ve nearly finished the child migration chapter now. Inevitably it’s full of sad stories. One image will stay with me forever, of a boy deported to Australia in 1955 when he is four years old, so lonely that he painstakingly sews a smile on his teddy-bear. The history of this toxic episode in our past does have its uplifting moments, though, and I didn’t expect that. When a former child-migrant, Harold Haig, responded to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s official apology in 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H78SYmkpUHI) his insight, sensitivity and generosity of spirit moved me to tears. He thanked the inspirational campaigner Margaret Humphreys for exposing the horrors of child migration, for founding the Child Migrants Trust, and for her efforts to reunite migrants with their birth families back home. But remarkably, he also thanked her children, for giving up precious time with their own mother so that Harold and thousands like him could find theirs.
Do have a look at the link if you have time. As I prepare for a mild bout of absent motherhood myself (while my 20 year-old son disappears alone into a distant rain-forest for five weeks) it has certainly put a few things into perspective. Which reminds me: must get him a SIM card charged up with lots and lots of money before he goes, so he can phone home whenever he likes. And perhaps e a dongle, and some extra insurance, and anti-malarials, and a cash card, and… maybe a teddy-bear?