Today, she is four years old.
And a few weeks ago, we were minutes from losing her.
It sounds dramatic, but it’s just the truth.
You deal with your fare share of scares (woah, rhyming) with kids when they’re young. We’ve had a few extras in there with some allergic reactions and rushes to the ER. But honestly, nothing prepares you for seeing the top of your three year old’s head bobbing in the deep end of the pool.
Everything moved in slow motion. I didn’t even get out of my chair. I just saw a head and said it out loud. Her swimmies were off. We have no idea how she got in there. We were all right there. She’s totally fine, by the way.
But I’ve wondered if I am.
Since then, my thoughts feel something like this:
She could have been at the bottom of the pool and we would have had no idea. I know Jesus totally saved her. Did I pray for protection over her that morning? Why did He choose to save her and other kids die all the time? Is this just a test to see how I react and maybe she’s going to die at a young age? How does God’s will work?
Yeah. But in my head, it’s pretty much one, long, run-on sentence.
I’m not really a worrier as a mom. When they fall, I don’t freak out. I don’t typically dream up all of the horrible scenarios that “could be”. It isn’t bad or good or right or wrong. It just is.
But this one moment has shifted how I see everything. And I have a choice in which route I want to take. But my point in writing this post isn’t for drama or attention or even to talk about the dangers of drowning. Above all of the fear that has attempted to work its way into my thoughts, the overwhelming words that I train my brain to return to are:
I am so thankful.
I’m not talking about just thankful she’s alive. When life literally flashes before your eyes, everything gets put into perspective. Olivia is my challenger. She has taught me more about myself in four years than just about anything else I’ve had to go through in life. She is stubborn and smart. If you ever wanted to know what a “strong-willed child” looks like, hang out with my girl for a day.
She feels big, she reacts big, she fights big, and she loves really big. And most days, I feel tired and stretched. But this horrific could have been moment has zapped me into gratitude.
It feels cheesy even in my head to think it, let alone type it for you to read. But I’m gonna say it because it’s still true. Our life is short. Our people are precious. It’s not about even making the most of every day – but oh my gosh, God has given us so much.
She is four today. Our banisters are covered in pink streamers and there are unicorn balloons on any surface I could find. I love celebrating birthdays. People are important. We should remind our people as often as possible that they are worth celebrating. But lately I’ve been wondering: why can’t we just treat every day just as special? And then I answer my own question. Because life is life, and there are lunches to make and full laundry baskets and budgets to stick to. Because you probably shouldn’t eat cake for breakfast every day, and people have to go to work.
When it’s your birthday in our house, it’s your day. You pick the movie, the food… you get to decide what kind of day you want. And I want just a little bit more of that in our every day life. Just a little bit more of celebration and fun and “sure, why not?” Just a little bit less of “not now, I’m busy.” Because life really is precious and so are the people in it.
We don’t have much control in this life, but we can control how we love. How big and wide and intentional our attention and affection can be… it really is up to us.
So I want to love big and risk just a little bit of my tidy life to cherish the ones I have. I want to hold their hand and scoop them up often and say yes to donuts and playing. I want to sit next to them and say no to responsibilities that don’t matter quite as much.
God gifted me with a brand new batch of mercy today, so I’m just gonna focus on the hours in front of me. I’ll focus on making choices that make them feel loved and valued, and tomorrow? There will be more grace.