I'm sorry. 2 words that we say thousands of times over the course of our lives but really are the only words that make a difference sometimes.
2 PM: Wailing from the back porch stops me in my tracks. I look up to see Grace gingerly touching her shin and in the midst of the cry that has ceased to have sound. The cry that lets mothers for blocks around know that ice and band aids will soon grace our day. She has a knack with this cry and she uses it often so I don't immediately put down the grimy shovel that I have spent the last 3 hours using to finally get to the "summer project" of moving plants to the side of the house. Instead I glance up and yell "Calm down there is no need to get hysterical!" Her scraped, pink leg with a bruise forming needed an ice pack that I got immediately but I never said I was sorry. I didn't even think about saying it, I didn't trip her or hurt her leg, I might have been a few seconds late but I did what most moms would do. I never even thought about saying I'm sorry until 10 minutes later when she tripped over the same small step of concrete leading to our back door. There was no doubt in my mind at that point an I'm sorry was in order, not out loud but in my head.
My daughter has Stargardt's disease and although it appears to everyone else in the world that she is a sassy kid with her dark shades on, she is slowly losing her ability to see the little things that make life easier. All the little things that come easy to so many are so hard for her: walking up the bottom stair leading to the house, catching the rolly-polly before her sister can snatch it away, and finding the gray remote sitting on the gray couch. No matter how hard she tries those things are not always easy for her. That is why I thought "I'm sorry" over and over again in my head in that moment. She can read like the wind, dance beyond my abilities, and debate bedtime tirelessly but at a certain time of day she can't walk up the back stairs to our house without tripping. That is why when people look at me now, their faces say I'm sorry.
I wish people would say I'm sorry out loud sometimes. Maybe then when Sean took her inside , I wouldn't feel bad about sitting in the garden crying a little bit. It might be a little easier to put the reflective tape down on the stairs. I might feel like I could stop feeling like I need to say "I'm sorry" for what IS, and use it when they really needs to be said.