I have been frustrated with my kids today. "I have so much to do.....why can't they just leave me alone?" "I am trying to prepare for our first MOPS meeting of the year.....I am half way done dusting the entertainment center....I need to prepare dinner...." These were the thoughts running through my head all afternoon. I was answering my phone non-stop throughout the day trying to coordinate a Thursday night meeting. The "Phone Man" was at my door telling me that he could not figure out why my phone had so much static on the line....would I like him to come in and check the phones? If so, it would cost $55 plus $20 for every 15 minutes. Are you serious? I will live with the static.
At 4:55 pm, I was multi-tasking (talking MOPS stuff on the phone while peeing). Emilie came pounding on the bathroom door and she was sobbing. I quickly hung up the phone when I understood her to say, "Mommy, Luke is choking...." I opened the door to find Luke standing next to her with drool coming out of his mouth. He was alternating between making a gagging sound, crying and silence. I immediately grabbed him, pounded him on the back, started the Heimlich maneuver and called 911.
It was just like on the movies. I am crying into the phone, yelling, "My baby is choking." Luke and I are on my bathroom floor. He is now drooling blood and I see pieces of pretzel coming out of his mouth. When the operator finds out that he is choking on a pretzel, she tells me to "stop pounding him on the back and stop the Heimlich." So, now I am sitting there doing nothing except crying along as the operator tells me to "calm down...the paramedics are on their way." I have seen enough movies to know that she will talk about anything....she just keeps talking. She tells me what streets the emergency personnel are crossing. I tell Zachary to go "open the door for the firemen." Every time Luke lets out a cry, I am relieved because I know there is still breath left in him. But silence continues to come. The drool and blood continue to come. Why won't the pretzel come?
Luke keeps looking at me with terror in his eyes. I am sure he is thinking, "Why doesn't she do something?" Zachary and Emilie stand at the end of the hallway. Staring. Zachary says, "Mommy, why are you crying? Is Luke going to die?" The five minutes it takes the firemen to arrive stretch on. I hear them come through the door and call out for us. Just then, Luke coughed and a soggy, almost whole, pretzel popped out of his mouth!
God's grace and goodness overwhelmed me at that moment. This could have been so much worse. Shortly after the firefighters arrived, the paramedics followed. They gave Luke an exam on our bed. As he warmed up to them, Luke began to crawl all over the bed and act like his crazy self. He laughed and yelled and played.....
I keep thinking..."What if I had been in the shower?" "What if a babysitter had been here?" "What if I had been in the garage doing laundry and Emilie could not find me?" "What if the pretzel had not popped out?" This day could have had a very different ending. Only by God's grace do I have all three of my children sleeping and breathing and living at this moment.
I cannot sleep tonight. I am so struck by the thoughts, "Why me? Why has God allowed so much good to happen to me?" "Why do I get to have another day with my baby when so many other mommy's lose their children every day?" I am so overwhelmed by God's great love. I cannot take it in. I just keep repeating, "Thank you, thank you, thank you..." And, it is still not enough.
I am terrified of becoming one of those women whose tragedy God uses to bring others to him. I am selfish. I don't want to have a horrible story to tell and then end it with..."but God's goodness and faithfulness has pulled us through." I know that I serve an awesome and amazing God. It is my own immaturity and weakness and humanness that keeps me fearful. I will tackle those issues tomorrow. For today, I will say, "God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He's so good to me."