Somewhere deep in my chest, in the center of my rib cage, in the space between my lungs, is a tiny red balloon.
Most of the time it is deflated: just hanging, empty, unnoticed.
But whenever Avram cries too hard, or is too quiet during breakfast, it puffs up just a little. When he is fussy or has a slight fever, it inflates a little more.
When I stupidly google information about his conditions, a little more air gets blown in. When he misses a milestone or doesn't want to do his exercises, the balloon gets bigger still.
When he has a seizure, the balloon sucks up all the air in my body and fills my chest.
Little by little the tiny puffs blow up the tiny red balloon, until I can't breathe, or think, or eat. It squeezes my lungs and makes my mind race and tightens up all the tiny muscles in my neck.
But then I have a good cry with God, and the balloon deflates a little. I read some Psalms, or the Book of John, and it deflates a little more.
I hug my husband and rest my head on his shoulder, and the balloon gets smaller still.
I see that baby smile, I hear him laugh, I watch him slide like a snake all over the apartment, I taste his apple juice-flavored cheeks, and I forget, once again, about the tiny balloon.
It's always there, and I doubt it ever won't be. I am learning that life is much more little-by-little than big leaps at a time. Little by little the tiny red balloon becomes tinier, and tinier.
Little by little.