Emily Dickinson wrote, “Forever is composed of moments.”
Essentially our lives are made up of millions and millions of tiny moments. It is mind-blowing to think that just one of those moments could change every single aspect of your life forever.
In the blink of an eye everything can come to a screeching halt. Life as you know it could change, and never be the same again. This is a hard concept for me to grasp, and until this particular incident, it was never something that I thought about too much…
The Coin That Could Have Changed it All
Eli has always been a very happy, content little boy. He plays quietly (often, not so quietly), and for the most part he is very independent. Now that his imagination has blossomed, he sits and reads books. I hear him mumbling certain lines, and making the same sounds that we do when we read to him. Sometimes he will play upstairs while I am downstairs. Other times, he will bring toys to the kitchen while I’m cooking, and play right beside me. Whether I am cleaning, folding laundry, editing a photo shoot, blogging, or teaching, he is always somewhere in the house, keeping himself occupied.
April 7th, 2017
About two weeks ago, I was sitting at our dining room table, studying with Dylan. The table is currently not in the living room because it is too cold there in the winter months. The dining room is therefore empty, and Eli likes to take toys in there and play. From the dining room table, I could see Eli out the corner of my eye. I heard him humming, and thought nothing of it. All was well, and things were going exactly how they always do on a weekday morning at home. Next thing I remember, I heard Eli making an odd sound. It was not a sound that I had ever really heard before. His back was facing me. He did a small step to the right, then the left, and then start stumbling around. I called his way, asking him what he was doing. That was when he turned around and I heard the worst sound I have ever heard in my life. His face was bright red and he was clutching at his throat.
I jumped out of my chair and sprinted towards Eli. When I reached him, tears were streaming down his cheeks, and he was in a complete panic. I grabbed him and hit him hard on the back but nothing happened. I didn’t know what he had swallowed, but he clearly couldn’t breathe.
Words cannot explain how gut-wrenching it is to see your child gasping for air!
Everything around me went silent, and all I could hear was Eli battling to get air. It felt like my heart had stopped beating. All I could think was… what is in his throat? And how do I dig it out? It felt like my entire world was coming to an end as I repeatedly hit his back, and nothing happened.
Determined to clear his throat, I threw him down and then grabbed him from the back. I pumped his stomach/ chest area hard a couple of times. My heart resumed beating as a coin fell out of Eli’s mouth and onto the floor! I sat down on the ground and held my clearly traumatized child. He was confused and in shocked. But he was breathing. I don’t think I have ever been so incredibly happy to hear someone cry.
We hugged for a while. He looked at my with tears running down his cheeks as I did the “post-trauma” scolding. “How could you put this in your mouth?!!?” Which, of course, made him cry even more! Dylan was standing a couple of feet away – eyes wide open, no color in his cheeks and jaw hanging open!
Next up came the guilt…
What if Eli had died? Whose coin was that?
We never leave money lying around – and don’t use coins very much . It turns out that Dylan had left his bus money on the table, close to where we were studying. Eli, who is always playing around the table while we study, saw the coin and took it. I can’t tell you how bad Dylan felt. The following day I had a heart-to-heart with him about it, and he is really cautious with his things now. In fact, he treats Eli like a little brother and I can tell that he genuinely cares about him.
When Eli went down for his nap that day, I checked on him numerous times. I kept seeing his face over and over again in my head – gasping for air, and grabbing at his throat. Although I was unbelievably thankful for how things had turned out that morning, I definitely felt some negative post-traumatic effects later in the day.
It is crazy to think how quickly everything can change. This was a abrupt reminder of how special every single day is. It is easy to get caught up in daily routines, and not take the time to appreciate each and every incredible blessing in our lives.
Every day is a gift!
I am so unbelievably thankful!