It was late afternoon, and the sun was bright. It was the kind of day that belongs in May, not March. The dogs walked beside me, uncharacteristically docile. I pushed the stroller and gripped their leashes.
I was still shaking. Even the promise of spring didn’t affect me. The fall hadn’t been that far, but we hit the ground hard. The series of thuds echoed in my head.
I was carrying him when it happened, hurrying down the stairs in preparation for this walk. I was holding the railing—it didn’t help. I took the brunt of the fall, but when my elbow connected with the stair, his head smacked the wall. While I tried to comfort his cries, I checked our injuries to make sure neither of us needed medical help.
As I walked, I was sick, nauseated, waiting for an angry bump to appear on his head, his perfect little red head. I had slipped on my too long jeans. What an idiot, I thought. If only. How could I be so careless?
And I ached already, wrist sprained, elbow throbbing, both ankles twisted.
I heard an engine in the distance. It was audible even over the hum of the traffic in the background. I glanced up the hill and saw it coming towards us.
He saw it, too. “School bus!” he yelled. “Mama, school bus, school bus, school bus!” He held out his chubby arm and pointed with all of his heart, an ecstatic smile on his face. His excitement and joy consumed him.
It was contagious. I felt the weight lift and noticed for the first time that the sun was warm on my face, that I could smell spring in the air.
As we watched the bus thunder towards us, I reveled in the beauty of the day, and of him, and of our family. Forgiveness and acceptance and something else—gratitude that everything was going to be okay—washed over me. An accident. It was just an accident. We were fine.
We were great, in fact.
This post was prepared in response to a prompt for RemembeRED from The Red Dress Club. The prompt was to write about a time of forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts on their piece and your own stories of forgiveness. Constructive criticism is welcome.