So much can go right in a day: the sun shines through the blinds just so, entrancing Baby Boy. Leading with his head, he can finally (as of today!) roll himself from back to front. Hooray! (He can sit for a while, too, and laughed for the first time at his big sister two days ago.) Toddler Girl sits in her room, likewise entranced by a book of Baldo comics (why, exactly, I don’t know – but I don’t question things that she loves that are OK for her). The deer creep through the yard, eating things that aren’t my hostas. Butterflies – swallowtails, this year – flit and flutter about, a substitution for the flowers and things that aren’t growing this wet, wet summer. 

But sometimes, so much can go wrong, even after so much goes right. 

Like Saturday August 24th. We had a great day at the pool – and I do mean a great day, with friends and snacks and toys, going through the lazy river and feeling warm and happy and lazy ourselves. With Toddler Girl on Daddy’s shoulders and Baby Boy in the carrier in my hand, we were on our way out. The door nearly shut on another girl, and as he leaned forward to keep it open, she leaned back. And in a moment, you can imagine your whole, happy day – your whole, happy life – coming to an abrupt and sudden stop. Nothing would ever be the same.

He leaned forward more to slow her already-in-slow-motion-horror-movie-like fall, and it was as if she were trying to roll or cartwheel her way down, a circus in motion. But of course, she wasn’t. She was a three-year-old falling from a rather great height, and she landed on the pavement. We – we and our friends and our friends’ kids – froze. 

Then, my girl cried. No quiet, no unconsciousness – just crying. I’ll leave out the fears and the worries, the guilt and the additional worries – but she was, by and large and to our immense relief – and “immense relief” does not do justice to our feelings – fine. A goose egg that was really more like a chicken egg rose on the left side of her forehead accompanied by a scrape that looked like a little bit of road rash. Forty-five minutes of crying. Questioning her about her name, waking her at night – even the doses of Tylenol (two) were minimal. Even now, she has what either looks like a very dark circle under that eye or a little bit of a black eye, but I don’t even think it would be noticeable to anyone other than us. 

So much goes right, but it only takes one wrong thing to change everything.

And so we marvel and snuggle, kiss and stare, and feel an incredible sense of gratitude for these children of ours: for the little things, for the big things, for what is, for what could have been but wasn’t. For them.

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