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!
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.