Afterschool Pickup

I take pride in how present I was for a very special event that took place one afternoon when I picked up my son from Kindergarten.

It was a sunny Monday after a weekend of rain. Bright. Crisp. A light and gentle wind kicked a few leaves around on the concrete, catching the sun’s warm reflection, skipping and tumbling across the sidewalk.

I wasn’t wearing my usual personal uniform for this time of day, which would have been comfy athleisure and sneakers. I was coming straight from a family meeting so I was wearing a work outfit; business casual with a teacher vibe.

Flared denim trousers, a sensible sweater and chunky heeled boots. It would have been nice to go home first and change, but I was okay with it. My meeting went well. I was happy. I got my work done, and I was ready to be mom, looking forward to seeing my son.

Sun. Shades. Cozy chunky fleece coat. Work life balance satisfaction.


The same sturdy ground that provided a dance floor for fallen leaves just a few seconds before ended up supporting me with a landing place.

I tripped and fell. Hard. I couldn’t play it off. It wasn’t just a misstep that caused me to lunge forward just a bit.

My position had changed altogether and within a few seconds I actually had to come up with a plan of how I was going to peel myself off the ground.

I planted a hand- It must have already strategically and intuitively been placed upon impact, because luckily I didn’t fall on my face. I figured out the recovery plan and pushed myself up. No major injuries or blood. My knees stung a bit.

After my feet were replanted I took the first steps and immediately looked behind me. This probably wasn’t the safest thing to do, but embarrassment kicked in and I had to get an estimate of how many people may have seen this happen.

No clear headcount of any onlookers, but I got one solo, “Are you okay?!”.

“Yeah…I’m good?

The next 10-15 steps had a walk of a shame feel mixed with relief and gratitude that there wasn’t much physical damage (later I discovered I skinned my knees slightly). And most of the parents and caregivers in proximity were either on their phones or engaged in small talk conversation.

THANK GOODNESS I wasn’t looking at my phone or multitasking when this happened. Nope.

I was there for the whole thing. The real cause could have been my footwear. It could have been a piece of uneven sidewalk. Maybe since the ground was a bit wet, that may have been a factor too. General clumsiness maybe? I’ll never know.

I get distracted ALL the time and it leads to stubbed toes, a bumped head, or something being knocked over. I will say with confidence that me being distracted wasn’t the cause this time.

This was the most ideal way for me to do a face plant on a school campus.

It was a humble reminder that things happen unexpectedly even when life is going well. When the mind and body are fully present for the shock of impact or the sting of embarrassment, it could be very helpful in literally figuring out next steps.

How do you recover after stumbling unexpectedly?

sidewalk with chalk art that shows two circular faces and text that says cheer up

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