Coping with the Unexpected

By Jasmine St. Clair

My husband and I pray daily for our girls’ safety, and I’m sure those prayers are what have kept them from having more accidents. It’s possible, though, that I have also considered my kids exceptions–not to the rules, goodness no!–but exceptions in that they never seemed to do the typical silly little-kid things that lead to accidents or trouble. Like putting things in their mouths.

I grabbed Lauren and asked Kimberly what had happened. “Lauren swallowed a coin!” she replied.

I suppose I should have seen the warning signal–Lauren, two-and-a-half, snatching up a penny from the floor and gleefully popping it into her mouth. Fortunately she was within arm’s reach. I got it out, and Lauren got the appropriate scolding, complete with an explanation of “dire consequences.”

Still, nothing could have prepared me for what happened that night.

My husband and I were getting ready to go out for the evening. The girl’s room was darkened, and the kids were squirming in their beds, like they always did. Would they be asleep by the time the babysitter arrived? Probably not.

Sudden Kimberly called out, “Mommy! Mommy! Lauren is choking!”

I grabbed Lauren and asked Kimberly what had happened.

“Lauren swallowed a coin!” she replied.

My mind shut down. I had read and reread–probably five or six times–an article on how to help a choking child, but when I needed it, I couldn’t remember a word. I carried Lauren to the lighted hallway and screamed for help.

The worst was not to happen, thank God! Lauren started coughing and I remembered that if choking children can cough, they usually cough up whatever they’re choking on.

Two or three seconds later a quarter popped out and rolled onto the floor. I couldn’t stop crying–or thanking the Lord for His mercy!

Long after the kids were back in bed, still sobbing and hugging each other in a tender display of preschool sisterly love, “what ifs” raced through my mind.

A choking child can’t cry out. The darkened room, me in a hurry to get myself ready for our evening out, my husband already waiting downstairs–what if Kimberly hadn’t noticed that Lauren was choking? I might not have heard what was happening until it was too late. What if, instead of the quarter, Lauren had swallowed the penny I found in her bed when I tucked her in the second time? The smaller coin could easily have gotten lodged in her windpipe. Could I have gotten it out before it was too late? What if we’d already gone and the babysitter hadn’t heard Kimberly calling for help?

I am now a wiser and warier parent. I learned to not assume that my children would never do foolish, childish things that could put them in danger. I also have a renewed appreciation of the love and mercy of God, for His tender loving care, and especially for the way He answers our daily prayers for our children’s safety. When faced with the unexpected and the matter is all but out of our control, having Jesus and prayer makes all the difference!


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