I took Waleed to the park today like I do every single clear-weather day since we moved to our condo in October. Waleed normally sticks close to me like white on rice but today he wanted to wander and because the park is fenced and flat and easily visible from wherever one stands, I let him. I turned to talk to the mom next to me and when I looked back to check on Waleed, I couldn’t find him. For a full minute I could not find him. I scanned his usual haunts, the toy house, the swings– nothing. Just then I looked up and saw him taking the steps to exit through the one unblocked exit in the park. A parent blocked him as I raced to him. I picked him up. Waleed bounced on my hip. And we went home.
But for one full minute I could not find my son.
Every car ride, every trip to the park quickly blends into the next until it doesn’t. Every day is ordinary until it isn’t. He’s napping right now while a train whistles in the distance as I type these words on the screen. It’s Friday so we’ll do the usual where do you want to go out for dinner? I don’t know where do you want to go out? Give Waleed his bath. Maybe rent a movie.
For a full minute, I thought I’d never have a day like this again.
The street was empty. His steps clumsy. The exit still far away enough to not pose true danger. And yet I can’t stop thinking how many other mothers began a day like today, who turned their attention for a split second, and who pay for that moment the rest of their lives.
In that full minute I saw how quickly my world can shatter.
Trying not to dwell in the useless space of guilt. Trying to let this trembling sensation pass through me and the haunting whispers of what could have been. Thank you God for ordinary days. Thank you for moments that blend seamlessly into the next. They are a testament to an inordinately blessed life.