To The Mother of the Kid Who Entered the Gorilla Enclosure

To the Mother of the Kid Who Climbed into the Gorilla Enclosure

People are blaming you for the death of the gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo.

Chances are, you are blaming yourself too.

I blamed you at first for not watching him closely enough and then I remembered the compassionate nature of good mothers.

I am the mother of a 15-year-old. When she was an infant and a toddler, the world at large felt it was their duty to tell me what I was doing “wrong” in raising her.

On a rainy, cold early fall day in 2001, a stranger, a fellow mom reached out to me. I had been grocery shopping, wearing my daughter in a sling, shielding her from the rain as I tried to move fast to get the grocery bags into our car.

I was still reeling from the horrific events of Sept. 11 and did not want to put my baby in the car because she would be there alone while I returned the cart. My distrust in humans was strong.

As I struggled, a woman older than myself started to help me load my car. She smiled and said, “Let me load the rest of this for you. I’ll return the cart. I remember those days. They aren’t easy”.

Her smile, her willingness to reach out to me in kindness and not in judgement has stayed with me all these years.

And so, I say to you, “Gorilla Mom,” just hold your child close, forgive yourself and him. Think of what you’ll do differently from now on when you are out with him if there is anything and know, that one mom is Maryland is sending compassion your way.

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