It Can Happen to ANYONE!

So this is primarily a humor blog about motherhood, food, fitness, and whatever else strikes my fancy.  Sometimes, however, I will get all serious up in this corner of the blogosphere.  This is one of those times.  Kate from the super-fabulous blog Our Best Bites posted today about the near-drowning of her 7-year-old son Clark.  Her words struck close to home because I will fully admit that drowning is one of my biggest fears, both for myself and my loved ones.  I never really learned to swim.  My best guess is that, as a child, a combination of severe myopia (read: I was so near-sighted that I couldn’t see much at all without my glasses) and a one-time episode of “gee, let’s push her under the water just for fun!” contributed to a genuine, abject fear of the deep end.  I tried again to learn to swim when I was 16 and could go to an adult class, and even then I was unable to advance much.  I just am not able to trust that I will actually float when attempting to do the back float (which I have never successfully done).  Another problem I had was just being too dang skinny to float!  My legs and body just slowly sink, even now, as an adult, when I am trying desperately to kick and kick.  I have gone to the pool at my current gym, and what I do is my weird little approximation of a freestyle stroke, holding my breath until I physically can’t anymore, and then I walk for a little bit (water aerobics) until I catch my breath and can do some more.  I never learned how to not get water in my ears or how to turn my head to take a breath!  I know it’s silly.  Isn’t it funny how we try to overcome our demons from childhood?  I’m thinking that when nicer weather gets here again that I will invest in some earplugs and try them out.  Luckily, my kids have not inherited my fear and are all about going to the pool.  I plan to keep it that way!

Eager to learn to swim!

ANYWAY, I digress.  My heart goes out to Kate and her family, because I cannot even imagine how it must feel to come that close to losing your child.  The closest I have come to something like that was when Lacey was 2 and Elise was about 9 months.  I went to the pool with a friend, and, while I was getting Elise ready to go in, Lacey got all excited to play with the bigger kids in the kiddie pool.  It wasn’t that deep, but she lost her balance after a couple of minutes (and we both saw right away) and went under almost immediately.  My heart stopped, because here I had a very mobile baby in my arms (who would crawl into the pool if I let her go) and my other child is under the water.  Everything happened in about 3 seconds…my friend came to my rescue because she saw my dilemma, and she got Lacey out super fast.  Lacey was fine, but I sure wasn’t! (She actually said right away, “I don’t wanna go fimming!!”)  Looking back on it now, I would have held Elise in one arm and hoisted Lacey out with the other—luckily, my friend was there to help out.  Because of this situation, and my original fears, I am pretty paranoid about watching my kids at the pool, and I often don’t take them unless my husband can go with me, because my children are so young at 2, 4 and 5.  None of them know how to swim yet, and it is so exhausting to try and keep a vigilant eye on all of them at once.  I fully understand how you can take your eyes off of your child for the briefest time, and the next thing you know, they are underwater and not breathing.  It happens so fast and can happen to anyone, even a GREAT mother!  We are all human, and I’m so grateful that the Lord was watching over that little boy that evening.

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2 Responses to It Can Happen to ANYONE!

  1. Michelle says:

    I’ve told this story several times, usually when I see that post going around about how drowning doesn’t look like drowning. We had a scary experience as well, and we were just at a wading pool where the deepest end was barely over 2 feet. Jake was 2 and Lulu was just a baby. I was sitting at the end of the pool with my feet in the water holding Lulu and Jacob was playing a ways off, splashing away, when someone tossed a ball his way and he decided to go after it. His little feet slipped out from under him and his fell forward. His face went under and he could not for the life of him get his feet back underneath him. He was RIGHT by the lifeguard when this happened, and several other people were within arms reach. No one around him could tell that he was in trouble. I saw it all happen and immediately started towards him (with Lulu in my arms). I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that you move slower through water. It would have been quicker for me to get out of the pool and run around the edge. But, when you are in panic mode, you don’t really think. I just remember trying my hardest to get there, but it was slow going, weaving around kids and trying to drag my feet through water. (which was not even up to my knees. lol.) Anyhoo…luckily the lifeguard did notice after a few seconds and pulled him out just as I was reaching him. It all happened in a matter of second, but it felt like slow motion. He was coughing and sputtering and scared to death and it took me about a year to get him back in the water. This sort of thing scares the crap out of me, which is why I will NEVER have a pool. I even get nervous when I leave them with a babysitter who has a pool. Which reminds me, I need to get my kids enrolled in swimming lessons…

    • Mommy Always Eats Last says:

      That is so scary! That’s so similar to what happened to Denny, even the ages of our kids. You think the water level is okay until they lose their balance! Pools in backyards scare me for the same reason you mentioned. Kids learn how to let themselves outside, and there is no way to be vigilant ALL the time. 😦

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