Hands

I think I must be having a delayed reaction to events of today, because I’m laying in bed and I can’t for the life of me fall asleep. I’m hoping that maybe writing it down will help me process it and go to sleep.

Abi could have died today.

That statement is full of such hyperbole that its almost nonsensical. Any one of us are in danger of “almost dying” at any number of points during the day. Every time you load your kids into a the car, you run the risk of having them die in a car accident. So I don’t mean to add to the meaninglessness of the phrase. But, I guess it applies.

She choked on a piece of cauliflower.

And not like, “cough, cough something went down the wrong tube.” I heard a quelched yelp and turned around and her mouth was wide open and her face was turning dark red and she was trying desperately to cough.
Fortunately the situation is nothing I haven’t dealt with before — when I was like 10 — so I threw off the tray of her high chair, scooped her up, crouched down with her over my knee, swiping my finger down her throat across her airway as I did. I tried a couple smacks on the back, listening for breath before trying the heimlich maneuver. None of that worked, so I pushed her against my knee, starting at her tummy in an upward motion toward her ribs. I did that twice and she started puking — her meal from earlier that day. It seemed like if food was coming up, that was a good sign, so I stopped the heimlich and just let her vomit. Finally a snot-soaked little hunk of cauliflower came out, with some velocity, and I knew that was the culprit.

I couldn’t guess at the total duration. Time wasn’t moving normally for me. Maybe 25-40 seconds. Maybe longer. We wiped her face, and she cried for a bit, and then she was fine.

We were at some friend’s house for the afternoon, so at the time I think I was more worried about the puke on their floor. For some reason, it never for a second occured to me that it wouldn’t work — that we wouldn’t get the cauliflower out. I don’t think it even occured to me the rest of the day. I think we’ve always known that our kid’s lives are in God’s hands. And I wonder what people do without that peace. No wonder there’s so much fear in the world, when things that happen just seem like random, meaningless events.

I’m tempted to think, what if I wasn’t there? What if I’d been in the other room and no one heard her choking? But the reality — the absolute Truth of the situation — is that if it weren’t in God’s plan for our little girl to choke to death at that moment, then God would have reached down from heaven and pulled that cauliflower out of her throat Himself. For all we know, He’s done it before.

Its not that its not scary. Holding my little girl over my leg, hearing her gasp for breath, seeing the look of sheer panic and terror on her face… man, that was scary. And its good that I knew what to do. But I’m only her earthly father. I can’t be there at every moment, in every situation protecting her — I’m not even supposed to be. But her heavenly Father is. And just like, as parents, we’re ok with Ben and Abi tripping over their feet and falling on their face a few times while they learn to walk, God is going to let Ben and Abi face tough stuff, and even fall on their face, while they learn to be who He made them to be. And He’s going to teach Nic and I just as much as them through that. But even when He lets us go through those things, He’s there to make sure we come out of it OK — either here on this earth, or at Home with Him.

There’s an incredible peace in knowing that through the scary stuff, and the painful stuff, and even the happy stuff, my kids, just like their parents, are held and guided by the loving and infallible hand of God. One who loves us more than we can imagine or fathom.

All that said… I don’t think Abi will be eating any more cauliflower until she has a few more teeth. She’s only got the 4, so I guess the odds weren’t in her favor to begin with…

For I know whom we have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard that which we’ve commited to Him for that day. – 2 Timothy 1:12

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2 thoughts on “Hands

  1. We can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been. Reading it alone caused our hearts to beat loudly. We also thank God for His providence, and we remember how many years ago you saved your brother from choking on Lego when he was so young – and we weren’t in the room! Thank God for His mercy that you were there. If it were up to us it there would be no solid food for that kid for another year! What’s wrong with pureed carrots anyway?

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