It was New Year’s Eve 2017. My family sat around the table eating, drinking and laughing, (three of my favourite things) in the warm summer evening. It was seemingly the perfect end to an imperfect year.
2017 was one that had been marred by many emotional upheavals, traumatic events and to be honest, just really bad luck for my family and I. I was so glad it was nearly over. As we sat there I thought to myself ‘at least it’s a positive farewell’; I should have known then that something was bound to go wrong.
I watched my youngest daughter, Milla pick up a piece of chicken off her plate and pop it into her mouth. It was one of those little diced pieces that are spiked onto kebab skewers making them the perfect size for a three and a half-year-old without us having to cut it up for her.
For safety, the chicken had been removed from the skewer in attempt to prevent her from stabbing herself (or someone else which was probably more likely). I thought I had health and safety covered but the danger wasn’t the pointy wooden stick, it was what I had taken off it.
10 seconds later Milla began to cough, or at least that’s what I had thought was what was happening. But after a few more seconds, I realised that her cough was not a cough, but rather, her choking.
I looked at Milla, her face was scrunched up in discomfort, her pupils were dilated in shock, her hands held onto her throat as if she was trying to claw out what was stuck in there; she was struggling to move this piece of chicken upward or downward and the distress it was causing her was very apparent.
With that motherly gut reaction that had only been ignited a handful of times prior to this and never with anything so serious, I stood up and ran toward where Milla was sitting, bent her over and gave her a series of short, sharp blows on her back right between her shoulder blades. After about three rounds of these out came the piece of poorly chewed chicken, landing back onto her dinner plate. There was never a time where I had been so glad to see such a disgusting piece of semi-regurgitated food.