Unbearable heat. Sparked anger. Flared tempers. Bickering over games, over toys, over every little thing that doesn’t go right. The longsuffering sigh of motherhood escapes as another insult is hurled between the children. I turn away.

How long, Lord? How long ‘till we feel some relief?

And it’s all normal, until it is not.

Eye’s wide. Tears formed. Arms failing. Horrifically quiet. Silently dying within arms reach.

I scream his name.

A deep finger scoop frees the airway and the most beautiful breath sounds fill the room. I pull him in. Skin against skin, cherishing the body heat that means he’s alive. “It’s okay now. I’ve got you. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.”

Cool tears bring relief and the embrace tightens, neither ready to let go. Neither ready to acknowledge how fast it all changes. Forced normalcy cannot stop the flood. What if I hadn’t turned back? What if the God who gives and takes away had called him home? What if—

—what if I simply give thanks? Thankful today is not that day. Not the day that requires that kind of strength. Thankful I can hold him a little bit longer.

And it dissipates.

Frustration. Anger. Heat. All ceasing to matter in the cool light of life.

Thank you, Jesus.

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