I have taken my eyes off my children for a minute…or two…and things have happened. I lost my middle daughter when she was just 14 months old. And by lost, I mean lost…gone…heart pounding…tears streaming down my face. We were at a grand opening for a local gym facility. The place was packed…and my baby was missing. I was lucky, we found her. Did I blame myself? Yes. Did I feel like I was the worst mother ever? Yes! Did I need anyone to tell me that I sucked at being a mom and that I made a mistake? No! We live in a world where people think it is okay to judge other people’s parenting. Everything, from what we feed our kids to whether or not we read to them before bed is judged. It needs to stop!
I watched the footage of the boy in the gorilla enclosure. At first, I thought I was going to throw up. Watching that little boy, only 4 years old…the same age as my daughter, was tough to watch! I wanted to zoom in on his face to see if he was scared. I wanted to reach out and grab him. I wanted to watch more after the gorilla took him behind that curve in the wall. I wanted to know if he was alright. After watching, I searched the internet to see if there was a story about his well being…he was alright! After I found out he was safe, I did what so many other people are doing now…I judged. My husband and I were watching the video together, so it started a conversation. “Where was the mother? How could she let this happen? This is all her fault”. I felt entitled to judge the mother of the child. I was then angry. “How could they kill that gorilla? That’s terrible! He wasn’t going to hurt that little boy!” Because, apparently I can read the mind of a 400 pound gorilla. But, then I moved passed all of the anger and all of the judgement. I said to myself, what if that were one of my own kids? I thought, maybe I would jump down in there myself to try and save them. Maybe I would point the gun and kill the gorilla myself. Point is, I would do anything to protect my children. I can not imagine how helpless the mother of that boy must have felt.
Mistakes happen. There are no perfect parents out there…there are no perfect people out there. Yes, this was a terrible accident. Yes, a beautiful creature had to die. But, no one should be scolding the mother. If she is like every other mother I know, she already feels terrible. She already blames herself. And, she wishes she could take back that moment. The moment that she took her eyes off her child for a second. I know that when I think back to when I lost my daughter, I still feel like I am going to throw up. It was a few years ago, but I still tear up when I think about it. Luckily, there was no harm done that day. Luckily, my daughter was alright. But, God help a person if they made a comment saying I was a bad mother because I took my eyes off my child for a second.
I don’t know where you stand on this issue. But, before you judge, think. Think…what if that were my child? And please, spare us all in saying “my child would never do that.” We all make mistakes, we are human. We all want the best for our children…we want them to be safe. And yes, we take our eyes off of them for a second. Thankfully, the little boy…yes the human boy…is safe. What would people be saying if he had been killed while the gorilla was running through the water with him? Think about the last time you made a mistake as a parent. Think about how the situation ended. Now, think about the worst possible thing that could have happened…now, put yourself in the shoes of the mom of the little boy that fell.