As a SAHM I sometimes complain about how hard it is to have to literally watch the littles every minute of the day. They’re like accidents waiting to happen. Like your very own rendition of the 90s movie, Final Destination. It is physically and emotionally taxing to have to do every tiniest thing for these little humans and keep watch on their every move to protect them, guide them, and help them through their day. I mean, there was a time where I was literally taking every kid to the bathroom with me, so that I could keep an eye on them even while taking care of business! There’s no privacy and no down time for us, because as parents, we can never let our guard down.
And if we do – something like what happened to me last night could happen – and it could end in a very scary way.
The hubs was going out for dinner with friends, so I was going to be breaking fast alone. I was fine with it – sometimes I enjoy having the house to myself and three clingy tots who won’t let me sit still for even a second. 😉
Anyway, I decided to let the girls have a “treat” and watch THREE episodes of PJ Masks – in my room, which is right around the corner from the family room and kitchen. This gave me a solid 45-minute stretch to break fast, pray and then eat dinner while simultaneously feeding the baby her snack before bedtime. Meanwhile, my toddlers were in heaven to be watching TV in mommy’s bed before bedtime! I even let them have an edamame snack ON MY BED. This is a big deal. My bed is no food zone, so this felt extra special. Everyone was happy.
As I was finishing up the last few bites of my meal and serving the final few blueberries to the baby, I heard one single choked cough sound from my room. It was the softest sound. Honestly, it was a blessing from Allah that I even heard it at all. And somehow, I immediately knew it was my almost 3 year-old. She’s had a lingering cough since last week when she had a cold, so for a second I excused it as just a small cough. But some crazy Divine-sent maternal instinct started flashing red lights and sirens inside my brain, so I quickly removed the blueberry plate from the baby’s high chair and ran over to my room. At first glance from the door, both girls were just sitting on the bed. But then as my gaze fixed in on Rania, I saw her eyes were wide with panic and once she saw me, she started gagging. Panic wrenched my gut, but I had to focus. I sprinted over to her in a second and bent her over, and did the finger hook scoop, thinking I needed to pull a single edamame out. It felt like I was fishing forever, but within seconds I caught hold of something rough and started dragging it out. Along with it, she started spitting up some fluids too. It turned out to be an empty edamame shell… a long one that would case three beans. Somehow she had gotten lost in her show and swallowed that in place of the actual edamame beans, and it got stuck on the side of her throat.
My hand was shaking, my heart was racing, and I just gripped her shoulders and kept asking her if she was okay. She said yes, clearly and repeatedly. I breathed a sigh of relief but my mind was going a mile a minute. What if she had choked on this? What if she had stopped breathing all because I wanted to eat a meal in peace? Severe waves of mom guilt started crashing in on me.
My thoughts were interrupted with a giggle. “Hey Aiza, I just threw up a little on mommy’s finger. Hehe” And suddenly she was smiling her angelic, head tilted, nose-crinkled smile at me again.
She was okay. Alhamdulillah (all thanks and praises are to Allah), she was okay.
She was going to be fine.
But was I? I immediately grabbed the remaining snack from them, took it back to the kitchen and grabbed the baby out of the high chair. All I wanted to do was sit with all three of them on the bed and hug them tight. Screw eating dinner.
I may have been over-reacting, but the reality is that life is literally as fragile as an edamame shell blocking your esophagus. I was so fortunate that I heard her small choking cough, that I was able to get it out quickly and in a way that didn’t harm her. Things could have actually gone completely wrong too.
Tonight was a painful but good reminder that that nothing is permanent; nothing is forever. This can be interpreted in two ways: 1) Life is not permanent, so we should cherish and make the most of every moment with our loved ones instead of always just trying to get through the day and letting struggles hold us back. 2) This specific time period where your children are little and so dependent on you is also not forever. So, maybe it’s hard to sacrifice so much of your life in even the tiniest of matters, but this level of sacrifice is just for a little while. And I totally recognize that moms and dads are still human though and have needs. As completely justified as it is to want to eat one single meal in peace, we just have to remind ourselves that it cannot come at the expense of our children’s safety and well-being. Even something routine like eating a snack they eat every single day, needs to be monitored when they are so little. At this time, it is our duty from God to never let our guard down, to keep our littles close, and to be utterly grateful to Him for every single night that they go to sleep healthy and safe.
So, there’s your food for thought for the day. I, meanwhile, have temporarily lost my appetite as I recover from thoughts from last night.