I sprint through the emergency room doors, a dazed baby bouncing on my hip, scanning the room. When I spot my little man on the gurney, his tiny form nearly hidden by firemen, I bite my lip to keep it from trembling. His skin is a brighter red than I thought humanly possible, like he’d spent a few too many hours in the sun, it’s texture raised and bumpy, forming the signature hives of anaphylaxis.
For three years I’d been vigilant enough to prevent this moment. Three years of unfettered grace. I’d begun to feel safe. Sure, we’d had small incidents, a few exposures that were enough to cause stressful health ramifications. We’d struggled enough with creating safe boundaries that it tore at family relationships, strained the ease of friendship in our marriage, rattled foundations of trust that we desperately needed. But never this.
I’d never held an EpiPen in my shaking hands while my baby’s lip turned blue and he covered my clothes in buckets of vomit, panic in his eyes. When six firemen gently, firmly push me aside and surround him, I think I will collapse with the relief of it. They have him, they have him.
Afterwards, back at home, I think: I don’t know where we go from here. After six hours in the hospital, rounds of antihistamines and steroids and careful observation, my little guy is fine. His world doesn’t look any different. He is as vibrant and loud and courageous and funny as ever. His trust is pure and beautiful.
But me? In the days afterward, I am fragile. I look people in the eye and smile say, Look at him! He’s great! He’s fine! All is well, and we’re stronger now. But I feel my heart stop when he wanders too far; I feel the breath catch when I can’t see him. I hug him too tight in the mornings, hug him until he grunts and squirms and begs to go outside. Sorry, love, not today.
Life moves on. I’m not ready, and I know I’m not, but we take him out. We don’t just take him out, we take him to a children’s party. But it’s with family, they know about him, they help, my husband is there. I am anxious and tired, but Kai is thrilled. We make it through.
On the way home, my frazzled nerves turn on me. We are in the car, driving, In-N-Out on my lap. I look back at Kai, and for a brief moment, his lips inexplicably look blue to me.
I scream, and keep screaming. Pull over! Pull over! Something is wrong with Kai! Fries fly everywhere, I’m trying to get to him, trying to save him. My husband grabs me, firmly points out the obvious: He is fine. There is no reaction happening. Calm down. He looks at me. What’s going on? Where do we go from here?
A few days later, I stand with one hundred others. I’m singing, and my heart is trusting and free for an exultant moment, sweet surrender. And then, just as worry starts to leak in again, just as I want to go check on my boy in the nursery, in my heart I somehow hear: He was mine before he was yours. And I’ve got him. I’ve got him.
This is where we go from here. Absolute trust. Active, intentional, abiding trust in the God who knit Kai together and said He is beautifully and wonderfully made. On the good days, trust looks like easy joy, it feels like freedom, it drips with peace. And on the hard days, trust looks like a ferocious clinging: to His promises, to His faithfulness, to the 365 times it says fear not in His Word.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at. That’s what I’ve got. I don’t have have ten easy steps to stop being afraid. I just have faith, and that’s enough. I don’t know where you’re at today or why you might be telling others It’s fine, I’m fine, but if that’s where you are, give this song a listen today, okay? Thanks for sticking through the real with me, friend.