A WEEK from now I fly to that strange, increasingly foreign territory that is the European Union, to France, where my parents have a house bought for about £10,000 back in the 1990s when the currency in use was still francs. That ramshackle building is the one set of bricks and mortar that connects me back to my gauche young adult self, back, also, to a person who assumed the European Union was a good thing: a symbol of peace and togetherness. Whenever I spent time there, I felt welcomed, as if this place was open to me. Will my children feel the same ease and belonging there? Will they still identify themselves as European?

Reading the Brexit result, it felt as though that younger self was sitting there with me. Election or referendum results can be hard to digest. They sit there in the belly like a lump of unchewed fat, particularly when the vote hasn’t gone your way. I didn’t expect to feel the way I did.

I had always intended to vote Remain. And, even though I can see that the elite EU is far from a cuddly, benign institution, I was caught breathless by the result. Now that all the persuasive arguments, all the rhetoric is gone, all that is left is a swirl of emotions, chiefly sadness and bewilderment.

Some of this was shock that so many people did not vote as I did – though here in Scotland, unsurprisingly, most did. Some of this was bafflement at the fact that so many of my own people, the English, had voted Leave – though actually looking at my Facebook thread most of the Englanders I know were inners, not outers.

But most of it was fear for the way the country in which I am raising my children, perhaps even the wider world, may be heading in terms of tolerance. It was the perception that the UK may be lurching further to the right, along with all of Europe. It was anxiety that some sneaking xenophobia might be here to stay, and intensify. I’m not going to assume all the people who voted Leave were racist or anti-immigrant – some, no doubt, are committed to notions of sovereignty and democracy, just as many in Scotland were in 2014. But it’s hard not to be left with a note of fear, haunted by the campaign's dirtier aspects: the Breaking Point poster, for instance, with its queue of immigrants. A nasty aftertaste lingers – which is going to be hard to dispel.

A dramatic change such as this, of course, makes us think to the longer term future. It makes us wonder what kind of Europe we will be living in in 10 years’ time: whether there will be more opportunities, or fewer, not just for our children and all their peers. Will anyone be able to move with the ease that we have done, whether for work or education? And what of our children's Polish or other immigrant friends? Mobility seems to be closing down. Is this just another shutting down of life chances? Will there be more hate? More racism?

As well as fearing my own sons, I worry for my friends and their children: Polish friends, for instance, now fretting over their futures, who came here over a decade ago and made this not just their home, but also their children's native land.

The German cartoonist Vruvru, as single mother, has made a series of cartoons on the Brexit, in which a daughter asks her mother questions and contemplates their future as foreigners. “They’re not going to kick us out, are they?” the daughter asks in one speech bubble. “No,” answers the mother, “but I won’t be able to work and live here as I did before ... No-one knows what will happen.”The Herald:

It’s hard to know what this breaking off may mean. Perhaps the fears will prove unwarranted. Perhaps in 10 years time, all my Polish friends will still be here, bringing up their children, their lives barely derailed. Perhaps I will have settled at my parents' house in a France also no longer part of a collapsed EU, and be managing to work and send my children to the local school, and no-one will have minded that we were British immigrants. Perhaps we will be living in an independent Scotland, welcoming with open arms all who pitch up at our borders. Anything seems possible; everything uncertain.

When, last week, I asked my sons, aged six and nine, whether they thought we should stay or leave the European Union, they said: "Stay." This was unsurprising. Children, I believe, have an instinct towards togetherness. I’m not saying that a child's vote should be a guide, but I do find myself wanting to nurture that feeling in them.

One of my greatest desires is for my children to live in a world and a country in which where you come from is not the big issue. That, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean being part of the European Union. But I fear that leaving via the door marked Brexit is going to take us in the wrong direction. Where we come from is only going to matter more.