Artem misses his dad. He’s trying to understand why we left without him, and why his dad can’t join us. I have to answer his questions. My son accepts this difficult information in his own, seven-year-old way.
I answer him honestly.
«Why are you talking about 8 years? What do you mean, there was no shooting for 8 years?»
«Yes, Artem, 8 years ago the Russian Federation attacked Ukraine and took part of its territory. But we were able to defend Mariupol, and you saw what a beautiful city we had.»
«Why can’t dad come to be with us?»
«Because the men are protecting our country and working in Ukraine.»
«Then why don’t the women and children protect our country? That’s not fair!»
«The women are defending Ukraine. Everyone has their role to play in life. We decided that right now it was best for our children to be safe, and that’s why we left.»
«At what age to children become adults?»
«What about the Netherlands? We need to know the laws of the country we’re living in!»
«I know the laws that affect us every day: sort the garbage before you take it out, keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it, after two hours you have to pay for parking…»
Artem knows that two conditions must be met for him to see his father: the first is that the war must end; the second is that we must be able to earn enough money to live normally in Ukraine. This second one is the one we’re working on. It all depends on us!