Stop acting like you’ve never “lost” your kid before!

I hear they’re weighing whether or not to press charges against the parent in the gorilla situation that took place at the Cincinnati Zoo. The more I read about that case, the happier I am about not having children of my own. The only person judged more harshly than a woman is a mother … who is a woman.
When I was a kid, I was free to roam the neighborhood. Those were different times. Nowadays, I watch my niece like a hawk. When she visits me and plays outside, even though my house sits on a hill and she can see anyone coming toward her, I still find myself looking out the window at her most of the time. I am paranoid as hell, and I have anxiety, so even a visit to the park induces panic in me. If she disappears from my line of sight, I immediately think the worse. So basically, whenever we’re in public, I only have eyes for her. It’s kind of exhausting, actually.
With that being said, I’ve lost her before. She slipped away from me in Walmart in the kid section. We were looking for Frozen pajamas. Next thing I know, I’ve got a damn Elsa shirt and she’s gone. LONGEST THREE MINUTES OF MY LIFE. I found her hiding in the women’s section. She was having the laugh of her life and I wanted to attack her.
And then there was that time I almost drowned at the water park when I was around 8 years old. I still recall sneaking to join my cousin in the deep end of the pool, even though I knew I couldn’t swim. It didn’t take me long to get out of my mom’s sight, as there were a group of us. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the sound of her screams as she realized I was in the water flailing. Nobody will ever give my mom a medal for parenting, but this was definitely not her fault. I was being slick, as kids do, and almost paid for it with my life. I can’t describe the level of relief – or guilt – that I felt as my mom pulled me from that pool.

Harambe the gorilla at Gladys Porter Zoo before being relocated to Cincinnati Zoo. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

I’m not saying this woman at the zoo wasn’t being negligent, I’m just saying, even watching them so hard that you’re not paying attention to your own surroundings, all it takes is a second to lose them. And in those seconds, if your kid ended up in the clutches of a Gorilla, I’m not sure you’d care more about that animal than your child.

And, when I think of negligent, neglectful parents, they’re usually the type of people that ignore their children and end up with visits from Child Protective Services, not the type of parents that take their children on educational field trips. Perhaps, it couldn’t hurt to give this mom the benefit of the doubt. No matter how vigilant you are, an accident can happen to your child. That’s life. And they run fast as hell!
Oh, and I hate zoos. Have never, and will never take my niece to one. I think it’s barbaric, watching those miserable, funky animals in cages. We can learn the same thing watching the animal channel while eating popcorn and not being in any imminent danger. I was not happy that Harambe died in that cage, but when the alternative was that child possibly dying, I think it’s clear what needed to be done. There was no way to guarantee the child would be protected in such a chaotic environment.
I say, if you want to protest, feel free, but instead of directing your ire at that mother, direct it at people who choose to open zoo’s. Look at SeaWorld. Time and time again, we’re learning that our fascination with nature is often to its detriment. 
So, I pray if you’re a parent (or loving aunt or babysitter), you never lose sight of your child, because you could easily find yourself in the court of public opinion like this mother … and the public is not kind.

One thought on “Stop acting like you’ve never “lost” your kid before!

  1. Great write up Shaq – loved it. Because I was on the fence, being a mom, I could totally understand losing a child for a second. But I also felt awful for the Gorilla especially after seeing how unusually gentle he was with the child (except when he dragged him through the water).

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