Try as you may, sometimes, some days you can’t help but fall in.
Last week, my son and I walked to one of our favorite parks. The one with the big pond and the statue of the fish on the bicycle. Gloria Steinem and Irina Dunn, eat your hearts out.
My child played on the slides and climbed trees while I checked the iPhone. Then from across the way I heard him cry.
“Momma!” he said. “I fell in the water!”
He’d bounced up and out of the pond by the time I reached him. He was soaked from the chest down with muddy smudges of pond slime on his cheeks.
We’d been to this park and this pond 657 times before. This was a first.
“Oh, honey!” I said.
“I’m sorry, Momma,” he said, near tears. “I didn’t mean to fall in.”
“No, honey,” I said. “Don’t apologize. It was an accident. Momma’s not mad at you. I’m just sorry this happened to you.”
“I was reaching in and my foot slipped,” he said.
“You okay?” I said.
“Yes,” he said. “But my shoes are wet.”
We giggled. Removed his shoes. Called my husband to come with the truck. Sat on the bench. Help was on the way.
As we waited, my little boy crafted the tale of falling in.
“I have to tell Ms. Donaldson I fell in the pond!” he said. “I fell down into the dirty water! My feet touched the bottom!”
“Not many people get to do that,” I said.
“Because there’s no swimming allowed!” he said.
The longer we waited, the more animated the telling became. Then he began to shiver with cold from his damp clothes.
Evening was fast approaching. We couldn’t walk home with him in bare feet. So we waited and shivered and told tales together.
The truck arrived with a warm cab and blanket. The shivering stopped and the stories wound down.
Falling in can be a harrowing thing. But recovering to be safe and warm and at peace again can make it all worthwhile.
I called out Your name, O God,
called from the bottom of the pit.
You listened when I called out, “Don’t shut Your ears!
Get me out of here! Save me!”
You came close when I called out.
You said, “It’s going to be all right.” Lamentations 3:55-57 The Message