I grew up in Manchester.
I wasn’t born there, but my true growth as a person are all attributable to my time there. It was here that I discovered true friendship and real independence. It was here where I honed my personal passions, found the love of my life, discovered the immense highs and the extreme lows.
It was a city whose charm, and unique raw spirit, meant that my planned 3 years there would turn into 10!
It was a place of where ambitions are honed, along with great learnings. My first ever club night with David Lewis – a foam party on a chilly April night, we took ambush marketing to extremes – postering all the way up and down Oxford road, with the brilliant artwork of Gaika, until 5am in the morning. We postered bus stops, lamp posts, shops, just everywhere…and then discovered that the council cleans the streets at 6am…lesson learned the hard way!
Though I’m based in London now, whenever someone mentions Manchester, a little smile always arises from me. It’s a place where communities form, and where the work of groups like Forever Manchester, keep those communities together.
But this morning I am just filled with sadness. In large part because I take an attack on Manchester personally, but also because something felt different about this attack – it’s blatant focus on children. I’m still struggling to get my head around it in all honesty.
Creating what matters
Not a lot of people know this, but DaddiLife was created from a moment in time. In a local playground my son and another boy were playing when the boys father showed up. He was, let’s just say, extreme right winged, and on any other day if just him and I the conversation would have been with some hostility. But something else happened – we focused on our children, they brought us together, connected us. For a moment in time the tensions of our worlds had disappeared. When I see him now, we smile, we laugh, we focus on what matters.
That is the real power of great parenting – it helps us as humans focus on what’s really important. That is a core motivation of DaddiLife – if we can make more people, the best dad they can be, maybe, just maybe they can give some of that back to the world through their children.
Yesterday’s events make me even more resolutely determined to make that happen even quicker.
I heart MCR.