Friday was an early release day for the kids, so a friend and I decided to celebrate by taking our respective broods out for lunch and then downtown to Marbles, a museum/play place where they could run around and expel energy and she and I could catch up.
I parked on Moore Square in front of the museum, leaving Travis in the car while I went to pay for the metered space at the automated pay box which was located at the corner. This was my first encounter with the new technology and it wasn’t behaving properly and I was on my fourth attempt when one of the boys hollered down the street, “Miss Susan, can I open the door so that Travis doesn’t get hot in the car?”
“Great idea, honey!” I yelled back and turned back to the meter to try yet again.
Seconds later I heard a sickening thud.
Travis had fallen out of the car, hitting his head on the sidewalk.
His eyes were closed and he was perfectly still.
l ran toward him, fighting down panic and screaming in my head, “Oh God, please no!”
Ignoring everything I’ve ever learned about first aid, I put my arms underneath him and hauled him in my lap, saying over and over again “Travis, can you hear me? Open your eyes, honey, open your eyes.”
Was this it? Was this the day that was going to end without the same number of children as in the beginning?
Mercifully, his eyes fluttered open and he looked up at me.
“Are you okay? Can you talk? Are you okay?”
He spoke slowly and distinctly, “Travis bumped his head.”
A passerby came over and helped me lift him into his wheelchair. “Ma’am, I think he’s okay. He’s talking and I can’t see where he’s too banged up. I’d be glad to call an ambulance for you, though, if you think you need it.”
I was checking every square inch of his body, and the stranger was right. Other than a scrape across his forehead, the obvious point of impact, there were no other cuts and bruises. He was alert, focused, calm, and generally everything that I was not at the moment.
We took him inside the museum where I washed his hands and face and cried my eyes out.
He laughed at me and told me to stop crying.
Which only made me cry more.
And then he handed me his toy car, the one he is never without and the one I have hated with every fiber of my being since he got it because the wheels are clackety and it is loud and annoying, and he said, “Fix it.”
Because the wheels wouldn’t move.
Because they were bent from where they hit the sidewalk first, absorbing the force of his fall and saving his life.
I am so grateful this morning for the ordinary. For the sore muscles, the spilled milk at breakfast, and the incessant song of “Can we go to Target?”.
For I am reminded again of the precious gift that I’ve been given and of the Giver who loves him more than I do.
Have a nice day.