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I am so upset with social media today.
I opened my computer this morning to discover that the whole world is blaming that poor mom whose kid fell into a gorilla enclosure as if she is a crap mom for taking her eyes off her kid for one minute. I'm sorry, but I would like to have a chat with any parent who claims they have never done that.
I don't care how great of a parent you are. I don't care if you baby-proofed your house from top to bottom, if you put arm bands and a floating ring on your kid in a paddling pool, if you run after your kids when they are on their scooters wearing a helmet and knee pads, and you're holding a first aid kit just in case. I don't care if you are the most protective parent that ever walked the face of this earth, there is no way that you never take your eyes off your kid, and yes — this could happen to you, too!
People are so fast to judge. People want to have someone to blame because it makes dealing with the loss of this magnificent creature somewhat easier. But have you noticed how everyone is blaming the mom? What about this kid's dad? No one seems to be talking about him. I don't even know if he was there and perhaps he wasn't, but I doubt if all the haters who have been bashing the mom know either.
The point is, no one seemed to even think to ask "Where was the dad?" because we are all too keen to blame the mother whenever anything goes wrong.
I am sorry that a gorilla got shot. I don't know if anything else less extreme could have guaranteed that kid coming out of this alive. All l I know is that if that was my kid, I'd want to get him out of there alive no matter what, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. Yes, I do realize this is a very non-PC thing to say, but I can't imagine even the biggest animal lover in the world weighing "other options" in that moment. Any parent would want to save their child, even at the cost of the life of that innocent gorilla whose death is a true tragedy.
I can totally see and understand why people are upset. I'm upset. I love gorillas — who doesn't? But to say something as stupid as "he was actually trying to protect the kid" is insane. As intelligent as gorillas are, they are still as dangerous as a crocodile would be when it comes to a 4-year-old hanging out with them.
The fact that nothing happened to that child is such a miracle and I can't even imagine how blessed that mom (and dad) must feel. I would imagine she has been holding her baby just a bit closer since this happened. Hearing her shout to her child, "Mommy loves you, Mommy is here, stay calm," you can only imagine the horror she was feeling during this event. Seeing your child in that level of danger is just beyond imagination and I truly feel sorry for her for having to go through that.
Reading all the posts and memes about how it was this mom's fault her kid nearly died took me back to a personal experience that just showed me how fast accidents can happen. Whoever knows me will tell you that I value safety a lot and am very careful with my kids (maybe even too much). One day, my eldest nearly got hit by a car because I wasn't super focused for one second, and it really threw me and taught me a massive lesson.
We were invited for lunch at friends, we parked the car and I took Bella out first (from the road side — something I have not done again since that day). I took her to the edge of the car (we were two steps away from the pavement), and I said, "Go to the pavement, Bella," and I turned away, sure that she had understood that she should just take those two steps to the pavement that was right there.
Only she did not understand me. She thought I had meant for her to cross the road and go to the opposite pavement. The next five seconds were the longest in my life. Time stood. Everything slowed down as I turned to see my baby girl running into the road and a car approaching at high speed. My instinct was to shout her name out, but I knew that would just make her stop in her tracks, and as she had already reached the middle of the road, I figured she should just keep going.
The car missed her by an inch. My heart stopped and I swear in those five seconds, I could see how my whole life could have changed forever because of my mistake. As I walked up to her shaking and barely keeping it together, all I could think to myself was how lucky I am and how grateful I am that nothing happened.
I felt like shit. Worse. I felt like the worst shit that ever was. Bad mother. Stupid mother. Irresponsible, negligent, I thought it all. I am sure the mom whose kid fell into the gorilla enclosure knows what I mean. In fact, I am sure most parents do. I really don't need to spell it out, but if we are being honest, we've all had at least one of those moments where we were lucky (like I was), that we got to walk away with our kid unharmed. For some, her outcome is different and I can't even imagine what it's like living with that kind of guilt.
Point is, it can happen even to the best of us, so stop being such hypocrites.
If you really feel the need to blame someone, I suggest we start by asking how is it even possible that a child was able to get through the fence and find his way to the gorilla in the first place. This to me is far more concerning than knowing that a mother took her eyes off her child for five seconds.
Moms work hard. All the time. Every day. We don't get praised when things go right. No one cares what a wonderful job this lady may have been doing every single day of this child's life up until that one moment she messed up. All people care about is how badly she messed up and labeling her a bad mother.
While all the "perfect parents" out there are so outraged by this woman's so-called shitty parenting — and I have no doubt they will have a field day with all the dirt about her that will soon start finding its way to the good, old World Wide Web — I, on the other hand, would like to take this opportunity to send this mom a massive hug and wish (for her sake) that this social media bashing storm she is caught in will soon blow over.