The rather hot button topic of what occurred at the Cincinnati Zoo last Saturday has been weighing on my heart since Monday morning. I have to admit I was a little oblivious of what had happened until then. Alexander woke us up Monday morning bright and early and very hysterical. Upon calming him down, we slowly started our day. That included lounging on the couch after he wiggled his happy way off my lap to go play with his toys. I decided to put on the news.

I heard a brief preview of what they planned to speak about after the commercial break. My husband sat to my left. Immediately I got a bit snippy about it. They couldn’t tranquilize him? He had been more apprised of the situation and began explaining things to me. I have to admit that my initial reaction may have leaned a bit toward the masses reaction. Then I opened my ears and my heart and listened carefully to the whole news story.

I sat on my couch in my pajamas and glasses. Sipping my coffee. Watching my very precocious and often mischievous 20 month old play with his things, often stopping to give me his sly little grin. I heard the story. I heard how he had been told just moments before that he could NOT go play with the gorillas. (Here is an account from an actual witness) And then in the blink of an eye he was gone. 15 feet below in a pit with a male Silverback Gorilla, who by all accounts, regardless of intention, was still whipping that small boy around. I turned to my husband and tried to say, “that would be Alex. Alex would do that.” I couldn’t. The words stopped in my throat. The tears came to my eyes. I physically ached in my chest. I hurt for that mom. I lost my breath for a moment. That could be Alex. He would do something like that regardless of my stern warnings not to. Jackson would likely never. Even at Alex’s age. Certainly not as the 5 year old he is now. He has always been more inclined to follow my rules. I discovered months ago that I am dealing with the horse of a different color when it comes to my sweet baby boy. I have to parent differently.

Yesterday I had to stop at Walgreens. Alex did not want me to hold him the entire time. He wanted down. He is a wanderer. He is a fast wanderer. I was waiting in line. Within the 10 minutes we were there he bolted from me 4-5 times. One of those times we were near the exit and I was trying to pay. I had to chase after him before he made his way out of the automatic doors. I then attempted to physically restrain him between my two legs so I could finish paying. He broke free. This time taking off towards the back of the store. I again, had to stop what I was doing to chase after him. The mom in line behind me smiled and laughed. I said “He is a wanderer.” As I scooped him up into my arms. She smiled and said “I remember those days.” Her older maybe 8 year old daughter closely at her side. Alex then dropped a sticker he had been clutching in his pudgy little hand for the past 30 minutes. She immediately bent down to grab it for me and hand it back to him. As I was clearly trying to wrangle him in and get him to listen as best I could. I don’t let him run free. I tell him over and over and over and over that he HAS to listen to mommy and he HAS to stay with mommy. He has two choices, stay with mommy on the ground, or in my arms/cart/stroller. He smiles and runs away. Some kids are that way.


Alex. My bright, mischievous, brave 20 month old.

If you know me in person, it is fair to say I am not a neglectful mom. You may have even picked that up through following this blog or even my Instagram account. I have committed fully to being their mom. Maybe sometimes to the point that I do get burnt out, but yet here I am. Recently I was very sick and my husband offered to put the boys to bed without me. They both wanted me to come up and help. Jackson said “It’s fine, she will hear us crying for her and just come up anyway.” So even my very bright 5 year old sees me for who I am. A workaholic. They are my life, my job, my world, my very breath that keeps me alive (and often drives me crazy). So when Alex has wandered off for a brief moment and I happened to be in the middle of something else, paying, talking to Jackson, or any of the other million tasks I am balancing in one day, does that make me a neglectful mom? Does every other parent out there never ever take their eyes off their precious porcelain offspring? Have they never looked away for the briefest of seconds only to find their human being child with an active brain has made a decision for themselves regardless of all of the parenting they have done over the years? And the non parents, don’t even talk to me. As Ygritte would say “You know NOTHING Jon Snow.” Seriously, non parents should not judge what an actual parent has to go through with their child on a daily basis. You have NO idea. I had none before I had children. I admit that. Accidents happen. We balance life and children and pets and cleaning and interaction with other people in public and sometimes things happen. I have had bad parenting moments where I think “holy shit. I will NEVER forgive myself.”

There I was sitting on that couch. My heart aching for the whole situation. Then reading up further to try and learn more. I saw the angry cries for harm to come to the mom. I read people calling her a bitch. I felt a rush of anger myself. Anger towards the people who are so hateful. I am saddened that an endangered creature lost its life. I am more happy that a little boy didn’t lose his. I am empathetic towards that mom. Because being a mom is literally the hardest thing I have ever done. It takes a lot out of you every day, no breaks. You do so much as a mom. I wanted to hug that mom. I wanted to tell her that I am so happy her boy is alive. I wanted to tell her I am sorry that people are so cruel. I wanted to ask these people where is their outrage for people hunting these majestic creatures in the wild to eat them? Or the outrage for the NATURAL habitat loss? Are you as angry about that? Or just over the fact that Harambe lost his life while in captivity, a life that arguably was no life at all? Are you going to call for petitions to end the poaching and habitat loss? Are you going to call for petitions to help save them from Ebola? The link has some information about the real threats to Gorillas. Where is your outrage for the injustice that led to them being endangered animals? Or did you just wake up feeling like “today I could really go for some mob mentality?”

I am not perfect mom. Truly. I do dote on my boys. I am devoted to them. My world revolves around them. Sometimes they are all I have to talk about because I am literally with them 24/7. I have a wanderer, as I call him. I don’t know what he will be like when he is 4. I hope that we have worked through this a bit by then. I cannot guarantee that. He has a wild side. He is adventurous. He has little fear. He goes for things he wants when he wants them. He is incredibly smart and understands the world around him. He has a sly grin that lets you know he is about to do something you are not going to agree with. He is only 20 months old. So from one mom with an inquisitive child to another, I want to hug you. I want to tell you I know mistakes happen. I know you didn’t set out to go to the zoo and have your child end up in a gorilla exhibit. I don’t think you’re a bitch. I don’t think you should be thrown in jail. I empathize with you.

I came across this in my IG feed and it seemed fitting for what I have been grappling with since Monday. The world would be a kinder place if we all took a collective deep breath and remembered this.