Sometimes I see near misses at work, and I post about them, and about how I think God reaches out and protects us all, all the time, without us even realizing how often this occurs.
Last week this hit a little closer to home. Matthew and I picked Ayden up from preschool last Friday and he excitedly showed us these small, round, white candies he had earned at preschool from his French teacher. He volunteered to share one with Matthew, which was wonderful. We hopped in the car and drove home. On the way, I happened to glance in the mirror I have for watching the backseat, which is right next to the mirror we all have for watching the road behind us (and which no one ever, ever seems to be using when a speeding ambulance is approaching from behind). I noticed that Matthew had his hand all the way inserted in his mouth, past the knuckles. Then I noticed that his face was blue! I pulled over, whipped him out of his carseat, flipped him over and whacked him once on the back and out popped the little, round, white candy.
He started screaming and coughing, and pointing to his throat and thrashing around because it hurt so much and because he had been SO SCARED! I stood by the side of the road and cried and cried, and he sat on the hood of the trunk and cried, too. Poor Ayden was stuck in his carseat and he told me later, solemnly, "I thought my brover was going to die," not knowing what was going on except that when I pulled over, Matthew was choking.
The thing is, it was totally silent. The candy was large enough to totally block his airway, so he couldn't tell us that something was wrong, not even a squeak. I just happened to glance in the backseat at SEE him in distress. What if I had not glanced back? What if I looked back two minutes later, after he had passed out from lack of air, and thought he was sleeping? I likely would have seen the colour of his skin and figured it out, but what if I didn't look that closely? What if I didn't look at all? Brutal.
That was a near miss.
I guess if you can't scare your parents into thinking you are dead or brushing close to it a few times while you are growing up, you haven't had a complete childhood. But see, Matthew already did the 'almost drowned in the pool' thing, and the 'I'll hold my breath until I faint anywhere from once every 3 weeks to nine times a day' thing (panic inducing, but really not nearly fatal), and the 'I'll disappear in a parking lot' thing, and the 'I'll faint in the bathtub' thing, and the 'I'll get hives in a ring around my neck when I eat fries' thing; do we really need to do the 'I'll choke on a candy' thing? Really?
Ayden once ate a good portion of a bottle of extra strength, adult Advil and had to go to the hospital for charcoal treatment.
And he got kicked in the head by a mule last thanksgiving and spent 4 hours in the ER on concussion watch.
It's times like these that make you wonder, "What IS God thinking, entrusting me with these children?"
But really, all of life is this vulnerable. It's just that when our kids are choking right in front of us, we run face to face with our own soft, fallible, mortal nature, and it frightens us.