Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world and go to bed feeling like the world conquered you? Friday was one of those days for me.

It was one of those rare, Midwest gift days in August where you wake up and open the windows because the humidity has finally dissipated long enough to turn the A/C off for a day or so.. On days like these, there’s no wrong thing to wear. Whether long sleeves or tank top, you are neither too cold nor too hot because the sun shines brightly, complimented by a crisp, clean breeze.

It was also my first free day with no plans in awhile and felt like the perfect day to get really serious about potty-training my 2-year-old, with my oldest daughter back in school As soon as I put minnie mouse underwear on her, she immediately ran to the potty and knew just what to do (though she forgot a minor detail that required some clean up– pulling her pants down– but close enough!) She then asked to go to Starbucks to get vanilla milk and I thought that would be a good reward (yes, my 2-year-old is a Starbucks fanatic, thanks to her dad!).

Before we left, I saw a facebook message pop up on my phone that said a good friend of mine had tagged doublevision blog and wrote how I inspire her. And then I saw an e-mail come in from another friend who clicked on her link and read our blog. She sent me an encouraging e-mail, saying how brave she thinks I am and how she related specifically to a certain post.

So I left on the 2-block walk to Starbucks in this perfect weather feeling on top of the world. Everyone I passed seemed to smile or greet us with happy conversation. Even the birds were attempting to join in the casual conversations. And a bagpiper played beautiful music in front of Starbucks to help raise money for firefighters’ families (seriously, what is it about bagpipes that always gives me goosebumps?!)

I sat on a nearby bench and listened while sipping passion tea and watching my toddler happily slurp down vanilla milk in her stroller. I watched as car after car stopped to hand firefighters dollar bills, showing no sign of a recession anywhere nearby..

As I walked home, I felt like everything was right in the world. I felt good that I had handed a donation to the firefighters. I was elated that little Elli was still dry. I felt inspiring and brave and proud.

And what’s that they say about pride always proceeding the fall?

The day turned on me like over-ripened fruit. Elli peed on our new rug 2 minutes after getting off her empty potty chair. I opened July’s electric bill. Two small foreshadowings of the havoc to come.

I picked my first-grader up from school and asked if she wanted to walk to the shoe store for new school shoes. She was excited and jumped in the wagon, but Elli cried for the stroller so I caved and decided to do the “faux double stroller” with Lucy on top of the stroller (as shown in “Mama on the Move“) As we approached the shoe store, I remembered that we hadn’t brought socks to try on the shoes, and not wanting to spend extra money on socks at the shoe store, I decided to walk the 2 blocks back to grab them from home. Since a friend called to say she was stopping by in a half hour, I began walking quickly, wanting to make sure that we had enough time at the store. I usually try to go slowly when I’m pushing the girls “double-decker” style and hold on to Lucy while pushing, but I was in one of those hurried semi-frenzies as we crossed the street to our block. I was trying to get across the street quickly since there was a car waiting (and I had recently been told by my sister that I’m kind of a slowpoke crossing the street when cars are waiting!) In my haste, I misjudged the distance between the curb and front wheel, and felt the stroller jerk back in protest. And as if in slow motion, my precious Lucy went flying off the stroller headfirst onto the cement sidewalk.

Immediately, people surrounded us and a man ran for ice. Lucy stood up right away but began running hysterically in circles, shrieking in pain. I caught her in my arms and just cradled her, repeating “baby, I’m so sorry” over and over, vaguely aware of Elli staring at us from her stroller, wide-eyed and onlookers shuffling around awkwardly, trying to figure out how to help. The people from the waiting car had kindly pulled over and were looking at her pupils and trying to reassure me with the fact that Lucy has rolled, shoulder first and hit her cheek, not landing head-on. A bruise had already started to form, and Lucy continued to bawl and shriek.

I think the woman from the car could tell that I was mortified and ashamed because she began telling me how her niece did the same thing a few days before. I nodded politely but I couldn’t let myself be comforted. What kind of mom was I?

I felt this ball of guilt and regret in the pit of my stomach. And I felt not one bit inspirational. And not brave in the least. And as I pushed the stroller home, Lucy walking close and whimpering at my side, I felt like nothing in the world was right.

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17 thoughts on “When Life Reverses: Part 1

    • Thanks Tammy– we’re all fine (well maybe not me mentally, ha ha!) Working on part 2 is helping me, so I’m hoping it will offer some redeeming tidbit for others to glean from!

  1. Wow, I’m sorry about the turn(s) in the day! I’m sure Lucy will recover, and so will you; don’t judge your parenting on accidents and mishaps. They happen.

    • Thanks Don! I’m trying not to be so hard on myself and trying to work on some redemptive element of this story as I write part 2!

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart. Every mama can relate to this because we all, yes, we all, mess up, go too fast, blame ourselves, hug our bruised children and our bruised egos.

    I missed a step this week while heading out to help my daughter light a lantern for bible school. Crashed right to the ground in a huge group of 3rd and 4th graders because I was thinking ahead to how I was going to negotiate the dim parking lot and forgot to concentrate on getting down the steps. I was a crying, painful mess at the bottom, with my weeping daughter next to me. So much for the happy lantern-lighting I had planned for her…..thankfully, I hadn’t crushed any small children on my way down…

    • Thanks for sharing your story too, Tracey… it’s so hard when we are looking forward to sharing special memories with our kids, and they don’t end up playing out as we envisioned!

      For some reason, I didn’t realize that you have RP too. I knew that your dad does, as well as your twin sons, but I didn’t know that it affects you.

      Thank you for sharing, and thanks for reading!

  3. Oh you poor sweeties. Both of you. I’m sure every mom has a similar story–maybe more than one. I have my own as well. Oh it just feels awful. I hope you are feeling better and know that she will be ok.

  4. Oh wow do I feel you on this. I have 2 children of my own and my niece that is here all of the time….in the 13, 10 and 7 years of their lives, they have all been run over by me, had their heads whacked by whirring ceiling fan blades that I have held them up into, been hit by a tool of some sort (wrench, hammer, etc.) dumped out of strollers, run into every endcap in the local grocery store when they found that they could hold onto the front of the cart whilst it was being pushed….just about any kind of malady you can imagine at my hand and I cry every time……you find out as your children grow up that kids are incredibly resilient but it never really matters in your mind….even when you know that everything will be OK, that thought of prevention is there. The good thing is, children ARE resilient and can bounce back from most anything…..but you will still feel the same regardless. Accidents happen even to people with 20 / 15 /180 vision. All is well and that is the important thing. I do so Love this blog, ya’ll are so articulate in your writing that it is very refreshing in this day and age.

    • Thanks for sharing your mishaps– I was cringing and half-laughing (sorry!) as I read them all! Maybe you should have a blog! (do you?) You are quite articulate and reflective in your comments, yourself, so your affirmation means a great deal. Thanks for reading and relating!

  5. So sorry that happened! Go easy on yourself, dear daughter/mom. To repeat above quotes, kids are resilient. I wish I had a magic wand to whisk away the mommy guilt, though:)

  6. Sorry I told you that you walk too slow through crosswalks. I’m going to pass the blame on to Torrey for that one b/c when he’s driving he’s constantly complaining about having to wait too long at crooswalks for people. So now I get paranoid about people sitting in their cars getting anxious to hit the gas pedal. Geesh. Go as slow as you need to – people need to learn patience! Love you, sis!
    Jen

    • Ha ha– that’s okay! I am too slow sometimes (though now I know why!) I hesitated even putting that part in because I didn’t want you to feel bad, but now that I know that Torrey is the complainer, I’m glad I did– hee hee. love you sis!

  7. So sorry to hear about the mishap. As many have written before me all of us moms have a story or 2 or 3 like this. When Charlotte was 2 she fell out of her stroller on to a marble floor in a store. The looks I got from other shoppers were terrible. She was fine. It took me a long time to recover emotionally. Agh! That awful mommy guilt. But now Charlotte is 22 and getting her degree in computer engineering so I must not have done too much damage.
    You are an awesome mom!!
    You rock!
    Hope you, Lucy, Elli, Ben and your rug are doing better now. And I hope to see you soon!

    • It’s nice to hear happy endings from moms with grown children! Yes, the judgmental looks are the worst– people give those critical looks so easily. I was fortunate that the car of people who pulled over were actually kind to me! Your story, along with others, helped me in writing part 2, and more importantly, in living part 2!

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