"Dinner time," I called after placing the garlic bread on the table. The girls came running from whatever they had been doing.
"Cass, what's in your mouth?" I ask. She opens up her lips and pulls out a shiny penny.
"Oh, Cass. You know you shouldn't put things like that in your mouth. You could end up swallowing it and choking."
We have dinner and Cass darts off to something. I call her back to remind her to take her plate to the kitchen and she slowly comes around the corner. Tears streaming down her very red cheeks.
"I....." she gasps....."swallow....." another gasp....."ed....." gasp....."the....." gasp....."penny."
My eyes fall out of my head in disbelief and I utter, "Really?" Knowing it was obvious she had and using this more as a moment to collect my disbelief and gain composure.
I notice from the corner of my eye that Laurel and Maddie are standing scared and worried.
"Maddie and Laurel keep talking to Cass and Cass keep talking to your sisters," I say as I grab the phone to call 911. I needed to hear her voice to know she was breathing.
I made my first phone call ever to 911.
I called Ben.
I called Mike and Dee.
I got strapped in the gurney with Cass on my lap in the back of the ambulance. My first time ever riding in the back of ambulance.
Cass started breathing more normal during the ride and I started breathing in sync to her breaths. Holding my baby while praying and praying.
We got to the ER and eventually through the intake process. I knew Cass was feeling much better when the nurse was going through the intake questions and looked at Cass and said, "You don't smoke, do you?" And in typically spitfired Cass fashion she replies, "No, but I pretend I do."
And when she told the doctor she wouldn't swallow any more money "because her mom doesn't have any money."
And when she asked the x-ray tech if he saw tuna fish in her belly along with the penny.
I can laugh at this now.
Last night I was focused on what needed to be done. Holding back my emotions so that I remained calm and clear headed through it all.
This morning when I awoke I kissed and hugged Maddie and Laurel, who had climbed in bed with me in the middle of the night and squished me between them. They were terrific in the midst of the emergency. I thanked God for them.
I went to Cassidy's room and stared at this little girl, lying with her feet on the wall as she slept, and I cried tears of relief that she is okay. I thanked God for her.
Checking my phone I had numerous messages from friends asking how Cass was and asking how I was. I thought of my two dear friends who dropped their evening plans and came as soon as I called and asked, "How quick can you get here?" The paramedics, the nurses, the doctors.
So this morning, I paused...humbled...knowing that last night...well.. I believe in angels.
And I thanked God for each and every one of them.