Tales from the Deep

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The Twins had their first swim in an actual pool! Or well float I guess lol. They both loved it and were splashing around like crazy. The kids and I were invited to a friend’s house to chillax in the pool yesterday. Everyone had a great time. I can’t believe how well the boys took to the water. B1 was a little bit apprehensive at first, only because the water was cool and he wasn’t quite sure how he felt about that. B2 started splashing almost immediately as soon as I sat him down in his float, giggling and laughing up a storm. They only swam for about twenty minutes and spent the remainder of their time safely tucked away in their stroller under a shade tree.

This was Little’s first time in a big pool in several years as well. Her first year in the water she loved it. When she turned 2 she decided that she was afraid of the water for a while, and we stayed away from it. This year she decided that water was fun again, and she was super excited to go swimming with her friends. I could’t get her into the water until this year and because of that we haven’t done any formal swimming lessons. All day I was warning her to stay away from the edge of the pool, to stay in the shallow end, and to stay/hang on to a float or noodle no matter where she was if she was in the water.

Being four and excited to play with her friends she wasn’t paying attention. She wasn’t being disobedient, or defiant about it. She just wasn’t paying attention to the details of all of her instructions. The adults were in the water for about an hour and a half; then we decided to get out and take a break. Little and her friend who is also 4 and not the best swimmer yet were told to get out and sit on the pool steps while the older kids continued to play in the shallow end. Little listened for about ten minutes before she started making her way back down the steps and out into the water with out a float. I caught her twice and told her to come back out. She was listening fairly well when B2 started to fuss in his seat. I scooped him up and looked away from Little for not even two minutes. In those two minutes Little managed to slip off the steps and tumble into the water.

My friend noticed immediately, and sprang into action. I sat B2 down in the stroller as quickly as I could and turned around to do the same. Time basically stopped as I saw my Little floating face down in the water. My friend got to Little and pulled her face out of the water almost the same time as her husband grabbed Little and tossed her up onto the side of the pool. She was in shock, but thank God she gasped and held her breath before going under. My friend’s husband happens to be an EMT working on his RN certification. He gave her a thorough once over immediately, and again shortly before we left a few hours later. She was floating out of sheer panic, but never got any water into her sinuses or lungs that we could tell. We all reacted quickly enough that aside from being petrified for a few moments, she was fine. I, on the other hand, have the image of my baby, face down in the water repeating in my head over and over again.

It was an accident, plain and simple. No one is at fault and every one did everything they should/could have done given the circumstances. I’m not angry, or casting blame on anyone, myself included. I am severely shaken up by it. PTSD “Perk” it didn’t hit me until late that night. In the moment I remained calm and stoic for Little, giving her a safe and secure place of comfort after a traumatic event. I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon spent by the grill and adult conversation. After all of the kids went to bed and I could drop my Stoic Mom: Rock of the World facade I lost it. I cried, and had every other close call with various pools in my life come back to haunt my thoughts.

It was quite different having my own child be the one in danger, but she isn’t the first person I’ve seen near drowning. I actually jumped in to save another girl about my own age when I was 15 at a large pool party. She was in a pool full of other people, adults and a life guards all around,  but no one noticed that she was barely able to keep her head above water except me. She went under twice before I could fight my way through the crowded water to help her, and when I grabbed her shoulder to keep her head above water she was so terrified flailing that she almost took us both back down. I’m not entirely sure how I managed to pull her to the side of the pool but I did. I made sure she was okay and then went on about my way doing my own thing.

Later her parents tracked me down in the crowd and thanked me. It was a little odd because I was there with my own parents and they didn’t understand why these other parents were so emotional and what exactly they were thanking me for. At the time I didn’t really either. Now, I get it. I completely understand why Josephine’s parents felt the way that they did, and why they searched for me the rest of the afternoon to thank me for saving their daughter’s life.

Parenting is by far the bravest thing I’ve ever done. 2017 man… it’s been a year for close calls with my kiddos, especially Little. Part of me wants to enclose her in a bubble to protect her from things, and the majority of me knows that’s impossible. So instead, I’ll just offer a little prayer of thanks, and hug her a little bit tighter.