Have you ever narrowly escaped some awful fate, but then you felt more shaken than relieved? That's how I feel right now...
This morning when I was bustling around putting away laundry, Allyson was entertaining herself by making cupcakes with the play baking set she got for Christmas.
I smiled when I heard her reciting the ingredients as she pretended to drop them into the tiny metal mixing bowl--just as I do when I'm baking. "A cup of sugar," she mumbled. "A cup of flour, a cup of egg."
"How do you know that? How do you know about flour and sugar?" I asked.
She ignored my interruption and solemnly continued adding her ingredients. "A cup of bacon soda, a cup of bacon powder."
I couldn't believe she also knew about baking powder and baking soda. She's obviously been paying very close attention when I bake, and I've obviously been doing WAY TOO MUCH baking!
I hurried to the closet, still smiling, to hang some jeans. Less than a minute later, I returned to the bed for another stack of laundry to put away. Then I glanced over at Allyson and saw her putting a gallon-size plastic storage bag over her head! (This was the bag that the baking set was stored in; I don't know if it came like that or if we foolishly put the pieces in the bag ourselves. I had no idea a toddler's head could fit inside one of those bags.)
"No!" I said, as ran over to her. "We never put plastic bags over our face." She tried to pull it off, but it was stuck.
I jerked the bag up and off her face, and she put her hands over her nose and drew in a couple of quick breaths. I couldn't believe what had just happened. It wasn't hard for me to pull the bag off, but I don't know if she would have been able to get it off by herself.
I held her close and explained that she must never, ever put anything plastic over her head or face, or she would not be able to breathe, and then she might die--she wouldn't be alive any more. Her lower lip protruded, and tears pooled in the corner of her eyes.
"Mama's not mad, baby," I said. "I just want to make sure you don't ever do that again. Let's pray and thank Jesus that you are okay."
So we held hands, and I fervently thanked Jesus for letting me be there at that moment, and I prayed that he would help Allyson remember not to put a plastic bag on her head ever again.
Her lower lip was still hanging out, and I felt the same way. I pulled her on my lap and sat down on the rocker. We rocked for five or ten minutes while I rubbed her back. I kept mentally thanking God over an over, like a good luck chant. My mind kept going over the terrifying scenarios that could have ensued. I trembled with the fresh realization that life is terribly fragile, and that there are no guarantees of tomorrow for myself or my loved ones.
It was a terrible feeling and a wonderful feeling to hold my sweet two-year-old close and breathe in her scent. I don't know how I would survive if... I can't even say it.
I carefully tied the bag in knots before I threw it away. Both of us were in a somber mood for quite a long time after that. Suddenly the laundry didn't seem so important. We sat on the couch and read a library book together, and I was so happy when she smiled.
Thank you, thank you, Jesus!