I have had a number of jobs in my lifetime. I was a lifeguard at an outdoor wave pool. I worked midnights on the line at Labatt Brewery. I was a writer in an advertising agency where everything was due yesterday. But the hardest, and most rewarding, job to date for me is being a parent.
Before I had children, I had many parenting theories. Now I have none. Even siblings have vastly different personalities, energy levels, talents, food preferences, sleep patterns and behaviours. There is no how-to manual. There are many successes despite not knowing what you’re doing and many misfortunes that happen even with the best intentions in mind.
This is why my heart breaks when I think of the young family who lost their two-year-old son to a tragic alligator attack at Walt Disney World in Florida.
They were on holiday at the most magical place on earth. They were relaxing on the beach after a movie night. They were right beside him. They will second-guess themselves for the rest of their lives because that’s what parents do. I hope they find peace and I pray they only listen to those who have love and support to send their way. It’s shocking to see judgment arise during a tragedy. But it always seems to creep its way in.
Richard Jefferies said, “Grief falls upon human beings as the rain, not selecting good or evil, visiting the innocent, condemning those who have done no wrong.”
May we stop and hug our children a little more in the eye of the storm that is everyday life. May we remember those who have suffered the unbearable loss of losing a child. May we judge less and empathize more. And may we never forget that we’re all doing the best that we can.