It happened when my eight-month-old was doing his inchworm crawl across the floor (rear up, flop forward, rear up, flop forward) around the carpet, exploring at bedtime while I read the other kids a Bible story.

I heard a gasping, gagging noise from the baby’s throat. I still don’t know what he found; I’d just vacuumed, but that kid is even better than the Kirby at finding little things on the floor. With three young siblings, it’s not like he lacks material. But at this point, I froze.

I don’t entirely remember the milliseconds when I scooped him up and turned him down, repeatedly doing my best finger-sweep in his mouth and thumping him on the back while noticing his lips tinged purple. I was screaming my husband’s name at the top of my lungs; he’s had various CPR and lifeguard trainings, but even more, I just needed him. Panic was throbbing through me.

And then, as quickly as it begun, the baby stopped choking, started a wheezy scream. I rocked him there on the carpet, holding his sweet head to my chest and kissing that precious blonde hair, so thankful for a cry. My oldest was saying, “I prayed!”

I finally carried the baby back to his crib and stood there, still watching him, then as I headed for the door turning back to him more than once, keenly listening. My husband held me and affirmed the things I did right, stroking my hair and finally giving me a refresher on what else I can do in those situations. I sagged into his embrace. I was amazed by how quickly it had happened. In a matter of minutes, I could have lost my son. Instead of watching his blinking blue eyes, I could be calling my parents to say there’d been a terrible accident.

Later I sank onto the sofa, still examining the events in my mind — and how sheerly blessed we were. God, in Genesis, is the one who breathes life into Adam. I also know that He’s the Beginning and the End. I’ve thought of Him giving my kids breath when they screamed their first breath in the delivery room, or sometimes as I feel their soft exhale on my cheeks. He reminded me as I caught my own breath there on the couch that He still gives each breath. (You moms who’ve had kids with pneumonia, RSV, asthma, allergies, or oxygen tanks know what a blessing each breath is!) He sustains my kids’ lives as long as He sees fit, and He’s trustworthy in numbering their days; they will die not a second too soon. I’m grateful that tonight, I sit blogging rather than weeping. And I’m grateful the He daily keeps my family alive with me, sustaining us until He takes them home.