By MaryEllen Tribby
Last week was a very difficult week for anyone who keeps up with the news.
The happiest place on earth – Orlando, Florida, the home of Disney World, Sea World, multiple water parks and countless other attractions, was hammered with catastrophic, senseless and heartbreaking occurrences.
This hit me like a ton of bricks as not only do I live just 2 and half hours down the road in Boca Raton, but I also happened to be in Orlando the exact time all these events were taking place. You see Delanie, my 11-year-old tennis player, was competing in a state championship tournament. And you could not walk into any eatery, hotel or even a gas station without the “in your face” news coverage.
A Real Voice
First on June 11th, Christina Grimmie was murdered while signing autographs after her concert. She was 22 years old. My entire family was very familiar with her as we are huge fans of the show, The Voice. We cheered for her as she took 3rd place on the show in 2014. Mikaela, my oldest, even voted for her. She was a lovely girl with a beautiful voice and a gorgeous soul. RIP Christina.
Night Club Terror
The next morning, I woke up early in my hotel room and went down to the lobby for some tea. I got as far as the elevator when a man joining me explained the overnight happenings. I could not believe that a madman with ice in his veins and pure hatred in his heart had stolen the lives of 49 innocent people. I pray for everyone in that nightclub and the families of victims.
And then comes the news of the two-year-old child who was attacked and killed by an alligator at one of Disney’s finest hotels, The Grand Floridian. The little boy, Lane, was playing at the water’s edge when the gator took him from this earthly world.
Now all three of these events are unthinkable and tragic. However, it is the aftermath of the little boy that troubles me in a different way.
Social Media is Turning So Many into Jury and Judge
You see after the unthinkable murders of Christina and the nightclub victims, tenderness and support poured out from the city of Orlando, the state of Florida, from our nation and from so many from around the world. People came together to let evil know that love triumphs and together we are stronger.
That is why I find it shocking that so many were so fast to blame and shame the parents of the toddler. They partake in saying the parents should have known better, or they should have been watching him more closely. Many even calling the parents disgusting names during this time of utter heartbreak.
These parents will not only think about this moment every single day, they will see it, they will relive it – every single moment of every single day, for the rest of their lives!
Well, here is a wake-up call – it is not the parent’s fault. It was a horrific, tragic, freak accident. And I pray that none of the blamers, shamers and haters who hide behind Facebook and other social media platforms never have to experience losing a child in front of their very eyes.
No Parent Is Perfect
As parents we cannot keep our eyes on our children 24/7. We cannot hold them in our laps until they are 18. We cannot know all the evils lurking around us.
I remember when Mikaela was two years old and I took her to my office for the day (I was at Weiss Research at the time). I took her from her car seat and told her stay put while I grabbed my briefcase from the front seat of the car. Well as she was a two-year-old, she darted into the parking lot. I thank God every day that no cars were coming.
Another time when Connor was just two, I was putting him in his car seat after grocery shopping. While I was strapping him in, he insisted upon strapping himself. As I let him finish, I turned for a split second to move the shopping cart. Next thing I know, he had fallen from our very large and high SUV smack on the parking lot face down. I raced him to the ER where he was immediately taken care of.
I do not have a story like this with Delanie. By the time I had Delanie I was 43 years old. I had been a mom for seven years. I had experienced several scary situations with my first two and those experiences were ingrained in me.
Children do not come with a learner’s manual. And no matter how much you love them, there will be mistakes and accidents. I am one of the lucky ones. My mistakes did not result in tragedy.
However, if it had, how many would have blamed me? How many would have said I was an unfit mother and called me unthinkable names. But because all three of my children are healthy, athletic, compassionate, kind and smart kids, I am looked upon in an entirely different way.
Love Truly Is the Answer
Unfortunately, Lane’s parents will agonize from their loss every single day. And what they don’t need is people shaming and blaming them on social media.
Instead let’s offer them and all parents who have suffered the ultimate loss, love and support.
I started Working Moms Only to help all working moms have a healthier, wealthier, more blended lifestyle. I started this platform so moms could learn from my mistakes and my successes. I started this platform so that OUR children could live in a more tolerant world.
Let’s be that example; let’s be that change.