I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few days about the mother of the little boy who got into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. My first thoughts were Why the hell wasn’t she watching him??? What the hell was wrong with her??? I hope they press charges against her for this!! Why in God’s name are people not watching their kids???
Yesterday I remembered a terrible day I had as a young mother. Alex was a very well-behaved child and I was vigilant in keeping an eye on him. AND…when he was three I lost him in “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” at Disney World. Yep. Lost him. Huge crowd, we let go of each others’ hands, I turned around and he was GONE. I was melting down in front of a Disney employee (“Find him, he’s gone!!!”) when we spotted him across the crowd. A very kind family lifted Alex up onto one of the giant rocks, calming him by telling him “your mom will definitely be able to see you up here, we know she’s looking all over for you.” It was a horrible few minutes of panic searching for him. And that’s really all it was – just a few minutes. It felt like an eternity. It was just a moment where I took my eye off of him and we were separated. But that’s all it really takes, isn’t it? Just a moment…
Ugh. It’s so easy to jump on the bandwagon, isn’t it? It’s so easy to forget that we’re all human and that bad things happen in just a moment.
It’s easy to forget that it really does take a village some days. My heart will always be full of gratitude for the family who calmed Alex and lifted him up where I could see him. I’m sorry no one else in the crowd at the zoo snatched that little boy back off the edge. Pre-schoolers are curious, spirited and reckless. It takes a village.