Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I was just reading this post at Hyacynth's blog. Although she set the story of her friend's rescue of her child in a bigger picture, I couldn't help but have a flashback.

Last summer, my then three-year-old took swimming lessons for the first time. He took them through the local Y and we were fortunate enough that his daycare transported the kids whose parents signed them up. So, while I had my usual routine at work, he went to swimming lessons. And he loved it.

Then came a day, the second to last lesson, when they went out to the bus at daycare only to find it would not start. Since my schedule is flexible and I'm only four blocks away, our daycare provider called to tell me that if I wanted the then three-year-old to go to lessons, I would need to take him. I was in the middle of a meeting, but it was with a dear friend who loves my children well, so we moved our meeting poolside.

Although I was mostly watching my son, there were several times when my attention was drawn away from him - unfortunately because I didn't feel like other kids were being well supervised. In fact, I was watching two about whom I had concern when my friend suddenly said, "I think he's in trouble." I turned to look and sure enough my precious first born had gotten in water just a little too deep and was struggling as he'd go under then come up and gasp for breath. Thankfully we were sitting only about 15 feet from where he was, he was only an arm's length from the side and I could grab him in one sweep of my arm and get him to safety. Thankfully, while I was being concerned for others, my friend was watching out for him.

See, here's the thing. He was at swimming lessons. How much safer could he get? There were instructors as well as two life guards there at the pool. And yet, in an instance he was struggling to survive.

Thankfully in our case it turned out just fine. This is what he said to me, "I just went too far to the right and then I couldn't touch." Yes, really, that's what he said. And then when I told him it was time to go (because it really was - the lesson was over) he cried because he didn't want to get out of the water. I let him walk through the shallow end on the way to the car. I am so grateful that he still loves the water and wants to be in it.

But that next night as I lay down to go to sleep I found that all I could picture when I closed my eyes were his eyes, wide and screaming silently for help...his arms reaching out because he knew that a bigger child was just outside his reach...his face appearing and disappearing. It was like it suddenly clicked about what could have happened.

Why am I telling you this? Partly because I was reminded. Partly because even thinking back on it I realize again that we need not wait for desperate moments to realize how precious our children are. Partly because we all need to be alert - not anxious, not overprotective - but alert to those around us, whether they are our children or others.

Hyacynth linked to this article about drowning and how easy it is to miss the signs. Take a minute and read it.


Christine said...

I saw this happen once at swimming lessons myself. The lifeguard was young, three toddlers in his car, and one slipped in from the side the pool. It was over his head and he was floundering.There were lots who saw it, and the little boys mother was there in literally a flash, but it was a terrifying moment. A moment when you understand how quickly things can change, and how hard it is to always be watching. Thank you for sharing this, I think it's important that we are reminded often to be very mindful and careful where water is concerned.

Hyacynth said...

Jill, that is such a scary moment, isn't it. I bet you felt so glad you were there by the pool that day. I'm so glad you were there.

Isn't that drowning article a must-read? Gosh, it is one of the most important things I've read in a long time.