Lap #201 around the kitchen island, BAM against the fridge, and my 2-yr-old toddler fell at my feet. My unstoppable ball of energy made kitchen laps her Olympic sport.
I bent down patiently, like I always did when she fell. Showing alarm would teach her that falling is a bad thing, so I never showed interest when she fell. She learned to get up and keep going… just not this time.
I picked her up, and she still had color on her skin, before letting out a wail that only stopped until all air was out of her, taking life with it.
Blue lips, and eyes rolled beneath her eyelids, I didn’t understand what happened in that split of a nanosecond. Was it “just” a breath-holding-spell (BHS), or had part of me just been ripped out?
I was only calm because I had never seen death before my eyes, and didn’t recognize it at that moment. But my husband, a physician, knew what he saw. With professional calm, he started performing CPR on our ruthless little girl. It was then, I realized that four minutes are an eternity for a mother with a lifeless child in her arms.
And the screams came. From mommy, not from child. I lost it. I was furious at her. Or maybe at God. I screamed at her, I screamed at the 911 crew on the phone, I screamed at the air, not aiming for anyone in particular, I just knew that my screams were calling her back. I even screamed at my dear friends Ingrid and Richard, always present in our life, a blessing.
How dare something be out of my control? How dare she leave me just like that, without warning? How small of a human am I to think that I hold the reigns to my life? Infinitesimal being. A flaw difficult to understand. A flaw that I cannot release. I’ve tried.
Minute #4, and our little angel breathed. Her pouty lips filled the color raspberry again. A firecracker, packed in a 2-yr-old toddler, with big blue eyes, and bouncy blonde curls. At two, she couldn’t communicate much at all. Unable to climb into her brain and check-in, I held her tight, for years after. Until one day, old enough to speak and comprehend, she said to me, “mommy, The Light is not white… It’s Golden.” Angelina is now nine years old, wise beyond her years, peaceful; touched by that Golden Light.
My messy beautiful life as a mom who aims for complete control, was in that moment, linked to Someone Greater. I must surrender my ship and that of my children to The Being who sent my daughter back to me in the form of living blessing. Because when something is out of my hands, it’s in God’s hands. A better place.
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!