To The Mama of The Kid in the Gorilla Cage

Oh, sweet mama. There are no words to express how glad the nation is that your sweet baby is ok. The fear you must have felt watching your baby fall that far into an enclosed area with a giant animal must have been immeasurable. The relief when you knew he was going to be okay must have been overwhelming.

I know it must have been simultaneously gut wrenching and relieving when the animal was shot and killed- on one hand, a beautiful animal’s life was taken in an effort of precaution because no one knew what may have happened, on the other hand, your child’s life was being spared.

I pray I never have to endure anything like that.

And you’re taking a lot of criticism in a moment when you should only have to be grateful for your child’s life. Many have ranked you lower than the gorilla in their thinking when they’ve made these ugly comments.

But, I will not.

As the mama of two littles, ages two and four, I know how hard it is. I know the fear of Looking up and not being able to see my kid in a crowded room. I have a runner. My four-year-old, who is typically very obedient, is also very high-strung. And if she gets a wild hair, she will take off running, which always ends in us both panicking. I know the fear of being a mother and constantly wondering if the child is alright or needs anything or is thinking of breaking the rules even when I’m standing right there. I know the anxiety of lying awake at night wondering if all the windows are locked. I know the worry that if I turn around for a moment, say at the zoo, to give the two-year-old a goldfish cracker, my kid might fall into the tiger cage, or the gorilla pen.
But for you, mama, all those fears came to pass. Your baby’s life flashed before your eyes. Your heart stopped and did not restart until he was safe in your arms again.


Parenting is HARD. You have two hands when you need three hands per child. I don’t know if you were alone at the zoo or how many kids you had with you or what you were doing at the time. What I do know is this: what happened was a FREAK ACCIDENT. It does not define you. It doesn’t define whether or not you’re a good mother. It does not define your parenting skills.

Look to Jesus for all that.

I get judged and ugly comments because I put my kid on one of those backpack kid leashes. You get horribly harassed and kicked when your down because you didn’t and you may have turned your head. You can’t win with this world, mama. You just can’t.

The world can call you what they want. They can judge you and be ugly.

But here’s what Jesus says:

-You are worthy. (John 3:16)

-He uses your weaknesses to showcase HIS strengths. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

(To learn more about how Jesus overcomes our shortcomings and how to LET HIM, check out my FAVORITE book I’ve read this year HERE.)

-He gives you grace when you need it most. (Hebrews 4:16)
I know you’re holding onto your baby tightly tonight. Just know, as tightly as you hold him, Jesus is holding you both tighter.

From one mama to another, IT IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.


I desperately hope this letter finds you.

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7 thoughts on “To The Mama of The Kid in the Gorilla Cage

  1. Dicia says:

    I have a two year old that is also very high strung. While I always put him in a stroller when we go to public places like the zoo, he had disappeared a time or two in my parents yard while I looked away for a second. Of course he was running around a vehicle of hiding, but that fear is there. Parenting is hard. It’s sad that an animal lost his life, but we shouldn’t be judging the mom or saying mean and hateful things. Nothing no one says can probably equal the horrible feeling she is already feeling.


  2. Adelle West Stanley says:

    I put a leash on my son when he was young because he knew no fear and would run. I use to take him, his brother and sister places and had to be responsible for all three of them. They are all over 30 years old now and have children of their own. The leash was new in 1976 and I got LOTS of criticisms when I did this but I knew what was best for him and how to keep him safe. I’m sorry this happened but I am thankful and thank God that he is OK.


  3. Mike says:

    Adelle nailed it! I was put on a “leash” as a child (actually, we called it my “harness”). And, my mom and grandmother were occasionally met with disapproval in public. However, had they not kept me on my harness there is a better than even chance that I would have gotten myself killed before I reached the age of 10. Plus, my mom had the sense to realize that I was a handful – she definitely didn’t need ANOTHER child! Breeding is a responsibility, not a right. If you can’t do what is needed to take care of your kids, even when society seems to disagree with those measures, you don’t need kids. Simple. Sure, anything can happen in an instant, but it sounds from what I’ve read like the mother here had more than she could handle and should have probably held off on having more kids until she was better equipped to deal with what she had on her plate already. I’m glad the kid made it out of this situation unharmed – but everything I’ve seen undermines your assumption that the child’s life “passed before his mother’s eyes.”


  4. J Ross says:

    While everyone is thankful the boy is alive and well, it is a shame the gorilla who was at his home minding his on business lost his life because of an unattended child.


  5. Joyce Edwards says:

    My child was never once unattended but was extremely hyperactive. Top of the chart and then some according to his Neuro Dr. In his first ten years he had repeated reason why God spared his life. No one could never understand how impossible it was to never once take your eye off but a twist to the right or left put him in danger. And yes he almost got into the lions cage except he was electrocuted by low dose electricity instead. I used a harness until while folding clothes 30 feet away he jumped over it and n aptly hung himself. While daily trying to let him be a child while keeping him safe, people harshly judged my good intentions. I do not judge you mom but pray for his safety from God!


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