One of my closest and oldest friends lives in California. She still has family here on the east coast, so she travels back once or twice a year. Since the birth of my children, she has been here a few times, but we have been unable to synchronize our schedules so that she could meet my kids.
And this was fine with me. Really fine, not the fine that we sometimes tell our husbands or wives when we are angry and absolutely not fine. But fine.
This visit, my friend spoke again of wanting to meet the kids and hoped that we could make it work to have a kid visit and dinner out for just the two of us. It worked out, and we met at the mall for ice cream. After putting bottoms into high chairs, I left my friend parked right between my two children.
Standing waiting for our ice cream to be scooped, I looked over my shoulder.
My friend and my kids were giggling, talking and taking pictures like they were the only ones in the mall. They were laughing and getting along like they too were friends for years. I felt a lump in my throat.
And suddenly this was a very important meeting. And I was even finer.
I run. I don’t have a runner’s body. But I have the spirit. I am slow, but I’m a scrapper. I put on my sneakers and plug through the miles. At times, I am not as consistent as I’d like and right now, I am working out of my winter hibernation.
A little tired and about 25 minutes out, I rolled my ankle and my leg buckled. And in the most ungraceful manner, my feet went out from under me. My head and shoulders plunged forward toward the ground. My palms met the curb. Through no skill of my own, I tucked my shoulder and must have done a somersault as I landed on my rear end, in the grass, facing traffic.
I was jolted back into reality by the horrified face of a woman in a Ford Focus gasping at me. Reflexively, I raised my hands above my head like a proud Olympic gymnast after dismount, like-I do this all the time. She kept driving.
I stood up and surveyed the damage of my acrobatics. I banged my knee and my palms were stinging and scraped. I ripped a patch of skin from my hand, which was bleeding. I felt too vulnerable to continue further. I turned and began walking back. I was shaken and disappointed.
I wasn’t sure of my next move. Crying was certainly among my options. I walked for a few moments and oddly, I remembered something Ben Affleck said last week. I’ll paraphrase his words. Basically, everyone falls, or gets knocked down. The important thing is to get back up.