It was an ordinary Thursday afternoon. My little, vibrant 18 month old girl was feeling a bit out of sorts. Mingling between sort-of-cranky to probably-had-a-fever though our cheap thermometer didn't seem to get a great reading, plus, how do you get kids to sit still for that long with something sticking under their arm?
I needed a nap, burning with acute frustration just below the surface that my little queasy girl needed more attention than I could give. I slogged through trying to still give some good TLC.
As I filled up her bath, she flitted around, giggling, playing hide and seek. Her body, I noticed, fluctuated between hot and cold. I hadn't been giving her enough to drink that day. I toyed with the idea of running out before her bedtime to get her some more juice.
The bath was ready. Rescuing my little one from one of her silly running around games, I plunked her in. Usually, she would play with some of the bigger toys I placed in the bathtub— the old seat she used to sit in when she was too young to stand, or the classic stackable rings. Sometimes the measuring cups would be her fascination of the day. Today, she seemed uninterested, just looking down into the water.
I sprinkled her with some water drops.
"Tanya...." I cajoled. "Want something to play with?"
She stood there, still, staring at the water wordlessly.
"Tanya..." I put some more drops on her.
Nothing. Silence. No movements. Just staring down at the water.
I stopped, worried.
"Tanya?" I breathed.
I picked her up, and stood her on the bathroom floor, covering her with a towel. "Tanya?''
She just stood there, looking down, not responding. Her eyes, her expression, everything, blank. Gone.
I rushed with her in my arms towards the bedroom, everything moving slowly, feeling like a dream.
"Elad!!" I felt I wasn't yelling loud enough. I felt I was too confused to understand how to act, react, overreact, underreact. "Elad," I yelled through the door, "Tanya's acting really weird...."
I pushed through the door and the next moment his face was in hers, scared out of his mind.
I knew that he could see her face full on better than I did, and I knew from his reaction, that it was bad, that it was really, really strange.
He was yelling, he was calling 911. "TANYA!!!" He was screaming in her face."Tanya!!!"
She wasn't responding. She just looked, blankly, ahead. The little girl who was always laughing, always giggling, always reciting her favorite word "no." on repeat...
We thought it was the end.
"C'mon Tanya," I shook her hard, "C'mon Tanya. Snap out of it, Tanya, come on."
"GOD!!!" I cried out. "God, bring this girl back to life!"
Every single thought in the world that had ever worried me humbled in comparison to this little girl. I knew that, resolutely, that I would give up everything, anything, to focus all of my energy on her, to do it all again, to make things right. Who cared about anything else?
My husband was out the door, searching for help, calling the emergency numbers. "My daughter, she's not responding. Is she breathing?" I heard him ask.
"C'mon Tanya," I jostled her up and down, chanting to the blank face and body in panic. “Come on Tanya. Come back to life. "
And then, in a momentous movement, she threw up. All over me. I took this as a type of sign, as progress.
As I stared, she started moving a little, coming back to life. She was responding again. Soon, she was back, fully. A miracle.
The storm had passed.
After the almost inconceivable happens, you understand how close life and death are, experiencing the profound reality check of what is really important and what you would give anything to go back and have again.
And then, suddenly, sometimes, if you're lucky, you're given that choice.
My life, it may never be the same, at this point so close to the terror of the moment, it's hard to know. My mind goes back to those crazy moments, in which I thought a precious life was lost. I would prefer to go back to that other moment, that moment in which I gained the most precious gift of my life back.
What I would give to keep that focus throughout my life, that awareness of life, of the gifts that rain down on me continuously. Of that which is my focus and my real concerns, not the dribble that can cloud our glasses in life's daily grind.
As it turns out, the medical reports unanimously declared, Tanya had had a febrile seizure, a seizure caused by a fever and extreme shifts in temperature. This is fairly common in young babies, and causes no damage other than scaring parents out of their wits. The docs weren't too concerned, though they didn't have to endure what I endured, they didn't feel like they had almost lost everything only to luckily gain it all back.
My, what a miracle life is. My, what a gift it is. Cherish it.
With all of your heart, and soul, and might. With all of your money, and words, and thoughts. Embrace it with every ounce of strength you have within.
What a life we are privileged to lead. At any moment....
But nevermind that. Embrace and cherish the now. And laugh with it. A big, silly, belly laugh. In gratitude that we have what we love right in front of us. Love that, now. With all of your heart, and soul, and might.
We have everything we need right in front of us. Know that right now, we are rich.
May we all feel and be fully redeemed in every dimension of our existence.