My mother fell. While visiting for the weekend, she missed a step at my house and broke her left hip and her right knee.

It was open mic night for our literary guild at a local art gallery, and I was fighting my usual stage fright at the podium, reading a chapter from my essay book when the gallery phone rang. I tried to ignore it as well as the flurry of activity at the back of the room that turned out to be my husband taking off to meet the ambulance at our house.

Because this is such a small town, when my mother called 911 and said we were at some literary thing and not answering our cell phones, the operator knew just how to find us. Mom knew the name of our street, but not the street number, so my husband found the EMTs outside and went in to corral our big scary dog. I arrived moments later, just in time to hear Mom screaming as they loaded her onto the gurney, our dog matching every scream with a howl of sympathy.

Two surgeries and a stint in rehab later, my mother has recovered beautifully, and now curses the step in my house.

Who knows when I’ll be able to read aloud again. Not exactly comfortable with public speaking to begin with (yes, I realize I’m an actor– it’s a long story), I was fully traumatized by the interruption of my last reading. I’ll always be known here as that lady who read on open mic night while her mother lay in the floor at home.

My writing, along with the rest of my life, took a back seat to daughterly duties and a great deal of worry. I was at my mother’s side every day she was here in the hospital and then in rehab, and focusing on anything else was out of the question.

But I’m back now. Mom’s doing well. She headed home, and I got back to work.

What have I learned? Life knocks you down. Get back up. Keep going. And watch your step.