June 1 is Heimlich Maneuver Day, but any ordinary day can suddenly turn into Heimlich Day in the blink of an eye.
I heard gurgling. It was coming from my son. His lips were blue.
It was an ordinary day. We visited at our oldest son’s house. The kids were playing. One of them found a small oval box made of metal. It contained needles, pins, and various colors of thread as well as a small tool that made the needles easier to thread. It proudly announced its name as Mother, Sew Dear. They passed it around, opened and closed it.
My son was eight years old at the time. He was old enough to know better. Apparently the container proved irresistible. Unnoticed by anyone, he put the box into his mouth.
In that instant, it slid down his throat. Eternity loomed and death presented its ugly face. My son slipped to the floor. Chaos broke out. Everyone started screaming. My oldest son, the resident of the apartment, screamed he would call 911. The gurgling grew louder and filled the room with dread and foreboding.
Then it stopped. That silence was the loudest sound I ever heard. It thundered and roared in my head.
My mommy power kicked in. My child was in mortal danger and I had to do something now. I saw a picture in my mind of someone doing the Heimlich maneuver. Strains of call 911 reverberated in my head. I yelled that there is not any time to wait for the paramedics.
I hoisted my child off the floor and applied the Heimlich. Nothing happened. I panicked but quickly I did it again. The little metal box came shooting out of his mouth. Praise God, he started gasping and air filled his lungs. The color slowly returned to his face and he started breathing easier.
Then, I fell apart. Assured that my youngest boy would live to see tomorrow, I sobbed uncontrollably.
Thoughts of yesteryear filled my head. I remembered when I saved him when he was two. He fell into a flooded creek and was sweeping downstream. I ran faster than an Olympic champion and flung myself down on a footbridge. I caught his clothing and one hand just before he would have been swept away. Superhuman strength filled my arms and I jerked him up to the bridge.
I held him upside down and whacked his back. Water streamed from his mouth. He coughed and sputtered and suddenly we were both crying.
I think God gives mothers special powers when a child is in danger. She can do things that are impossible. I once heard about a mother who climbed straight up the outside wall of her house on fire. She saw her child in the window and went to get her.
A mother’s love is the most powerful force on earth. It is on reserve for those desperate moments that you might need them. Because you are mom!