Last weekend my family and I vacationed in the mountains. Upon arriving at our scenic rental home, appropriately named “Lakeview,” the adults and kids went to check out the lake. The kids ran down to the water to chase toads, collect rocks, and do boy stuff. The adults, six of us in all (plus Baby Will), gathered at the top of the hill to keep an eye on the kids, Graham and his cousins ages 5 and 7. We were deep in conversation when my brother-in-law yelled, “Graham’s in the water!”
We all direct our eyes to the water where we see Graham flailing in the water face first with his legs kicking up in the air. “He’s drowning!”, I think. The adults begin to run to the water. Someone screams for the cousins to jump in and right Graham so he can breathe. The oldest cousin jumps in the water and keeps Graham afloat. My husband reaches the water and pulls him out. Graham is screaming but unharmed. He held his breath in the water. We ascend the hill with a wet Graham to find Baby Will crying in the grass. How did he get there?
I’ve never been more scared in my life. Time froze as we ran down the short hill to reach my child who was so startled he didn’t realize he could have stood in the shallow water. Everything he knew about swimming was gone, except, thank God, how to hold his breath. Graham eventually calmed down, we gave him a shower to wash off pond scum and put on dry clothes. I told him I was so sorry he fell in the lake. He looked at me, patted my arm, and said, “It’s OK mommy. It happens sometimes.”
Yes, it does happen sometimes. And as summer comes to a close, we may be putting a little too much confidence in our young one’s ability to swim. I mean, they survived all summer right? What’s the worst that can happen? Well, I can tell you, I got a glimpse of the worst that can happen, and it got me scared. I close my eyes, and it’s the first image I see… my little boy unable to swim in the water. I’m so glad that we were there and were able to help my son. I can’t let myself linger on the alternative.
Give your little ones an extra kiss tonight (I know I will), and let’s all remember to be extra diligent while our children are in the water.