I had a moment, a couple weeks ago now, where I didn’t know things were gonna be ok with Catcher. It was sudden, frightening, then in a moment, ok, and life moved on. And then as life moved on for that next day and half, the exhaustion set in. It’s not that this story is so crazy it can’t be written. It’s quite ordinary. But vulnerability in the ordinary is frightening to me.

I had gathered all my chickies to run errands. And somehow 3 out of the 4 made it through all my checkpoints sans shoes. While Attie doesn’t wear any, those middle children do. And by showing up at Hobby Lobby without shoes they inflicted a heavy, heavy stroller push through the store on their mother. But my stroller is a fantastic double and somehow a suitable triple. We were ok.

So Catcher is sitting on the front part of the stroller, I’ve just checked out. He starts to scream. I don’t fully hear him at first, the chaos of getting through checkout. But then I hear him. I run to the front of the stroller (we’re at the front of the store) and his face is purple, his eyes are bloodshot and drool is pouring out of his mouth.

I’m not sure why he is crying. I feel frantic, looking around his body for points of pain. Then I see there is a gray plastic rod–it’s part of his action figure set–wedging his mouth open. I try to pull it out, won’t budge. It’s pressed at the roof of his mouth and then into the tissue under his tongue. He was in so much pain. Those eyes. Oh those eyes! Staring at me, screaming louder than his mouth. I’m trying to bend, pry, break. It won’t come out.

Then a loud gag and silence. SILENCE. And I look at his eyes again. They are bright red, panicked and with me. I had not noticed the little action figure hat, wedged in his cheek, that he had now sucked back into his airway. I could barely see it, save the bill of the hat.

I was in the front of Hobby Lobby, stuff thrown everywhere, no clue where Tee was yet everything around me was gone. All I could see was Catcher’s lips and the area around his mouth turning blue. And I didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t going to be ok.

This next part is going to sound like an advertisement for Leatherman tool. And it damn well should.

After watching the movie 127 hours–you know, the one where he cuts his arm off with a fakie Leatherman? Where they foreshadow him in the beginning reaching for his real knife, but grabbing the crap one by mistake. We bought this one, almost as a joke but with a purpose.

I had been wanting something with pliers, wire cutters (I kid you not), scissors, a cork screw, serrated knife to saw my arm off and a flat head screwdriver. Love it. Carry it everywhere and use it all the time. Especially now.

I pulled out my Leatherman pliers to grab the hat in the back of Catcher’s throat. But couldn’t get in there and open it up with the rod still wedging his mouth open.

Then I remembered there are wire cutters on my pliers. Snipped the rod and quickly swiped it out, then crammed my hand in the left side of his mouth so he wouldn’t start swallowing again and was able to grab the edge of the hat with the pliers and pull it out. Just barely. It was the bill of that hat that made it possible.

And then he’s breathing again. And throwing up mucus. And crying. And his mouth is bleeding.

I hug and kiss him, wipe his tears, ask if he’s ok. He’s ok.

I gather up my purchases and head outside to find Tee waiting on the curb. I don’t think so 5 year old. Catcher has stopped crying and we’re walking to the car. Just like nothing had happened. Buckling them all in, putting up the stroller, starting the car, heading home to grab shoes for the rest of our errands.

But I had to pull over. The adrenaline was letting down and I called Thom. I couldn’t get over how ordinary the before and after had been. To reach a point where I had nothing that could help my son, a point where I intended to break his teeth (and more) to access his throat and then, we’re all walking to the car and on home for shoes.

God’s protection. His plan for that day, not mine. And the breaking points revealing how big He is and how small I am. How delicate this life is. God moves and the ordinary turns into those moments when you are begging the creator for life. Fully worshipping Him as a reaction, a reflex of what is His. There’s no mine vs His there–no choosing how we all got here and who created what. In those breaking points, the author is revealed.

I am thankful for Catcher’s life, specifically the outcome of that day. And I can painfully say I am thankful for the moments of extraordinary when the creator reveals Himself most powerfully and without question. My leatherman didn’t save Catch, but in God’s providence, it was there as a tool and He allowed me to see a rational line to safety that I could get my head around.

I’m thankful for the brief moments of small mysteries revealed in the midst of the ordinary.

And then we went on with our day. An ordinary day as a mom of 4 boys. Feeding, changing, disciplining, playing, loving…and thanking God more that day for the gifts of the ordinary!