He flipped over the handles of his scooter, head over heels.
(Not my son. This time it was someone else's little boy.)
He was zooming along the sidewalk at the park, hit a crack or a twig or a toy or anything else, and he did an aerial flip.
There was an audible gasp among the collective parents. Several came running, helping him to his feet, giving him the once over. I scrambled in my bag. "Band-aids. I have Band-Aids." It was a community effort.
Screaming, screaming, he took one look at all of us, and he tried to part the waters to find his mom.
"Mom! Mom! I need my mom!" We made eye contact with each other, the silent question, is it you? Are you the mom?
She appeared then, and he breathed easier once he saw her; at that age, breathing easier means crying more freely. He cried and cried.
The spectating parents gave her the details.
"He was going so fast..."
"He was really scootin' along!"
"He ran over something, and he just flew right over the handlebars..."
"Good thing for that helmet, eh?"
She looked sheepishly at the team of reporters, her eyes offering a silent explanation: I'm not a bad mom. I just didn't see it happen. I just didn't see it.
Oh, I get that. Fear not, nameless friend. It could have just as easily been my child, my easy distraction, my sense of guilt for not catching or at least watching his fall.
In fact, last week, it was my child. I gave myself extra points on the tally for Mom of the Year when a stranger at the pool had to tell me my son was standing by the ladder crying, after he hit his head coming down the slide.
Nothing feels quite better than when somebody else nurtures your child because you simply weren't paying attention. That's awesome.
It's a full time job. And even if you never take your eyes off them, they're still going to fall.
It's what you do next that matters.