This tree in Duekmejian Park is called the McFall Oak. During the Station Fire a couple years ago, firefighters surrounded it while everything else burned. Now the rest of the park has forgiven the fire, and it is moving along with its life.
We live in uncertain times. By “we,” I mean we as a world, a nation, a bunch of Southern Californians, but I also mean “we” as the McGrady/Spiller household, our family. Among our major decisions these days: how do we remedy our poor choice in Ikea entertainment centers; should we move to a bigger place; and which is the best sippy cup for 1-year-old Grace. We are on type no. 4 or 5 now.
I keep dropping things.
Today at the Armenian market I spilled some limes and an eggplant. And also, at the pharmacy while I was waiting in line holding Gracie and trying to unblock the straw from aforementioned sippy cup no. 4 or 5, the stroller tipped over backward. And then I dropped the cup. And then the baby slid out of my arms and onto the floor. She was still and quiet for a second and then wailed, turning kind of pink. I picked her up right away and bounced her and cooed to her, saying “sorry, sorry, sorry” softly in her ear.
I’d let the woman behind me in line step in front, and she said, “no mama, you’d better go.” I was moved and teary by her simple kindness, the kind you expect from friends but is so rewarding when it comes from a stranger.
Gracie stopped crying a moment later and threw her little arms around my neck, and hugged me tight, and babbled on about her day as she peeked curiously at someone (who surely has eight cats at home) reading a magazine with a magnifying glass sitting next to us.
Tonight I am thinking about forgiveness and all its forms. And how forgiveness separates us as a species from something like reptiles, or Ikea furniture. And that I will work harder to forgive strangers and the people I love.