There's much work beckoning me but I am having a hard time focusing after what has just happened that productivity is pushed aside for a moment as I sink into solemn thought.
In the blink of an eye... Surely you've heard that expression but what do we KNOW of it? Even something as simple as five minutes can change your life forever. If Isabel is left unattended and she goes into a seizure for greater than five minutes and we are not able to administer her emergency medication, the prolonged seizing could have serious if not deadly ramifications. Five minutes. In the blink of an eye.
Or today, on a day when I am by myself with five little ones, cleaning poop blowouts requiring an emergency bath time, potty-break time with a potty-training partially deaf two-year old, med time for Isabel, g-tube feeding setups and dismantlings, tending to countless other little tasks that add up to a morning come and gone in the blink of an eye.
Or lunch prep time in prayer that all the children can keep the peace for the next half hour while I get Ethan's custom food warmed up, Avalyn's baby food made & the rest of us served reheated leftovers. Thankfully I was getting along without interruption only to hear Avalyn make a strange noise in the other room. I went to the living room where I had left her with some toys and she was not there. I called to Anika "Anika! Is Avalyn with you in Izzy's room?" "NO!" Sometimes she likes to crawl to the shoes in the entrance and makes a mess there but she wasn't there either. Then I heard her make the strange sound again from the bathroom.
My heart stopped.
I ran. She was upside down, head first, in the toilet bowl! She must have climbed the stepping stool we keep nearby for the three kids to be able to sit on the toilet unaided and fallen into the toilet. I screamed and pulled her out so fast... I looked her over as my breathing hurried and before I could help myself, I began sobbing.
Had she not managed to push her head up enough to make those noises, I would have finished up with making lunch in the kitchen unaware of the full implications of what was going on. My baby could have drowned... in the blink of an eye.
Instead, she burped many times over the next thirty minutes and was delighted to have a second emergency bath for the day, only this time to get the toilet paper out of her hair (did I mention the toilet had been used and non-flushed?). Her big eyes looking up at me with her big smile which did not help the lump in my throat nor stop my imagination from wondering what on earth our home could possibly be like had things turned out for the worst.
And what of other moms who trusted accomplishing a simple task like lunch prep would bear no harm only to discover that something horrible happened to their child? How do you comfort a mother who has experienced such a loss? A life-altering experience "in the blink of an eye?"
While I thank God that my baby alerted me (and while I humbly beg His forgiveness for not having checked on her sooner), my heart aches for the mamas out there who have to carry a heavy burden of having lost a precious child "in the line of duty." I cannot image how life proceeds nor the struggle of having to face each day knowing each one takes you further and further away from the last moment the child had been alive in your arms.
For those of you out there who have suffered this, may God embrace you and comfort you as His child... even while you are kicking and screaming through your anguish... and may He hold you as though your very life was the one at stake! May you find a fullness from Him to fill the void and find peace in the promise of His grace.
In this blink of an eye moment, I am reminded of the meaning of Avalyn's name... beautiful breath of life. While the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, I thank Him for the breath of life in each of my precious children and the gift they are to my life. And short of getting rid of all the toilets and having everyone pee outside from this point onwards, I am reminding myself that to cling to life means to surely lose it. But to surrender it willingly to His will is to truly give it life. I hold my little Avalyn knowing I have to trust being able to set her down and tend to my duties in this house without having her tied to my back 24/7... that I will be more dutiful but still trusting while seeking balance between taking good care of the lives entrusted to me (without trying to outsmart God's will) and trusting His care and plan for them.
In this humbling moment, I reach out to you and ask that God bless each one of you.