I know what you're thinking... oh great, one more person weighing in on the tragedy at the Cincinnati Zoo last Saturday. And I wasn't going to say anything. I was going to let the tragedy from this weekend taper off. The news of a beautiful, endangered gorilla killed. A mom at the epicenter of social media condemnation, blamed for losing track of her child.
And then Sunday came, and this story suddenly hit a little closer to home.
There's no point in belaboring the zoo incident's specifics. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened beyond the media and the video. And honestly, unless you were there, I don't want to know if you think the mom or the zoo were to blame either.
But I will say this. I am that mom at the zoo. As much as I helicopter parent my two-year-old son, I look away too. I check my phone. I chat with friends. I tend to my infant. That mom at the zoo could have been me.
This weekend at a BBQ I managed to lose track of my toddler not once but twice. The first time, I was chatting with my husband and a friend. Realizing he disappeared, I ran frantically around the house looking for him before finding him playing alone in the sandbox. The second time, I was breastfeeding my baby and thought my son was being watched by someone else. That time, he was starting to ride his tricycle down a steep slope. One of the adults just happened to be standing nearby and grabbed him.
Anything could have happened. Nothing did. And this was all on a regular Sunday.
I'm not writing this to defend the mom at the zoo. Like I said before, I don't know what happened and will probably never know. I'm writing this because life is freakin scary. And dangerous.
I never realized how little control I have in life than once I became a mom. As much as I wish I could contain my kids in a bubble and protect them from all of life's dangers, but what kind of life would that be for them?
Cars. Crowds. Pools and Lakes. Even zoos. Everywhere we go there is danger.
Many moms on the internet who aren't trolling the mama at the zoo are wondering what we can learn from all this. I've read one argument that everyone should keep their kids on leashes. I read quite a few posts arguing that the bigger picture is that zoos are inherently wrong and we've put this on ourselves.
I wish I could say I learned something profound from the event at the zoo. I will certainly be more cognizant of the enclosures around zoo animals. But I think the main thing we can all take from last week's event is only some things are in our control. The rest is in God's hands. This may be reassuring to some, and frustrating to others. I don't know if leashes or closing down zoos is the answer, but I will continue to go to bed every night being grateful for my family -- our health, our safety, and our many blessings. Gratitude.
Maybe that's the biggest lesson of all.
This article originally appeared on http://andwhatamom.com