never would i ever

Mary Poppins, who is practically perfect in every way, delivers a perfectly sarcastic slow clap.
Mary Poppins, who is practically perfect in every way, delivers a perfectly sarcastic slow clap.

Never would I ever let my kid accidently fall into a gorilla habitat at the zoo.

  • Because I am always vigilant.
  • Because I don’t get distracted by my other children or someone else’s other children.
  • Because I had just told him to step away from the fence because he might fall in.
  • Because I had just told him that, again.
  • Because I have never seen that impish face where he wants to push the envelope too far, and I didn’t realize just how far that little pea brain would go.
  • Because I’ve never egged him on, saying, “Go ahead and let’s see what happens,” as he was testing me.
  • Because I’ve never assumed that a well-established public place would have the barriers to stop a headlong plunge into a moat, or onto a track or whatever the unspeakable.
  • Because I’ve never looked around and experienced that moment of pure terror when you have no idea where your child is.

Oh wait. I have had my heart drop to my stomach and my blood turn to ice as it coarsed through my wicked veins. I have spent seconds, minutes or days in terror, wondering how I could have been so stupid, how I could have been so neglectful, how I could be so horrible. I have donned the sackcloth of recrimination. I have dropped to my knees asking God, Mary and the universe to help undo my error.

Maybe you don’t know that. Maybe you weren’t in a position to see my failure. Or in a position to judge me as an unacceptable, good-for-nothing parent. And maybe you haven’t, yet, put yourself in a most awfully human crisis.

I’m thankful that a child was kept safe. I’m saddened that an amazing animal was killed to keep that child safe. I’m sorry that the family is being castigated for the death of the innocent, captive gorilla.

I’m not judging, though. There but for the grace of god, go I.

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