As I sit here at 2:17 a.m., I know that I should go to bed, but after the day’s event, I felt this incredible urge to briefly write about what happened today while at a friend’s pool party. I know this has nothing to do with home decor, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that my beautiful 7-year-old almost drowned today.
Thankfully, he’s okay.
Miraculously, he didn’t even take in water. Even more miraculous is that he wasn’t shaken up enough to prevent him from going back into the water (albeit with a very tight life vest!). He ended the day with a smile and begging for a bag of Doritos as we drove away warm and dry, towards home.
Although I wasn’t too shaken up during the near-tragedy, as the day has worn on, I’m even more consumed with fear at what almost happened.
I was so vigilant to make sure that not one of my 3 boys (ages 7, 3, or 21 months) went near the water until Mommy was right next to them.
I was sitting there on the edge of the pool with my 21 month old in my lap, and my 3 year old on my right. I didn’t see my 7-year old slip off to the other side of the pool, which, honestly, wasn’t very deep. Just over 4 feet, maybe??
But as we all know, it doesn’t take a lot of water, does it?
My friend’s daughter and I started chatting about her coming home from college.
And after 30 seconds of conversation or less, I just happened to glance up at the other end, and I saw him struggling in the water, right next to the wall. I actually sat there for a second, thinking he was about to grab the wall.
But all I saw were arms flailing and his head bobbing under water.
The first thing that flashed through my mind was an article circulating last year about the 8 Quiet Signs of Someone Drowning, that said you never know when someone is drowning because it’s so quiet and very quick.
At that moment I jumped up and yelled out, “Get him!”
And my friend’s 19 year old daughter jumped in and saved him.
Ironically, I was calm.
All the things I would have thought would happen (my heart beating fast with an adrenaline boost, shaking from fear, etc.) didn’t happen. I approached him calmly and said, “OoOooohh…..” and he actually thought I was laughing at him, I guess because I was too lax in my response as he was near tears.
I placed my arm around him and assuaged any fears he might have had, then snuggled all my boys into life vests, and went on to have a great time in the pool with them.
But I couldn’t shake the fact that my baby almost drowned.
What was so ironic is that there were so many people standing around, talking, and some of them even in lounge chairs no more than 15 feet from the edge of the pool.
Yet, no one but me noticed.
I’m convinced it was divine intervention, at that moment, that I looked up. Maybe I subconsciously noticed he wasn’t nearby.
As I sit here early in the morning, with my hubby and boys sleeping, I have Googled “quiet signs of drowning,” and am horrified to learn that drowning is the 2nd leading cause of death for children ages 1-14, just behind car accidents.
They call is the “quiet death.” And, today I understand why. He made no noise. No one even knew.
I’m soooo thankful my son is okay. But I keep playing the horrible “What if?” in my mind….What if I hadn’t looked over at that moment and he slipped below the water? How long would it have been before I noticed he was gone?
Before even going to the pool party, I was super vigilant of the fact that we were walking into a danger zone, simply because my boys have never learned how to swim.
Bad mommy, I know. But logistically, I have never been able to teach them (lack of pool, and supervision to teach them).
So I knew to be more mindful of each of their whereabouts. And because hubby wasn’t there, I knew I was at a disadvantage being the only pair of eyes that could watch all 3 of them (which was very hard to do).
But thank God, the day ended well.
Tonight we carried on like it was a regular night (albeit the night before school starts), with me not trying to hype up the event and scare him. But I was even more acutely aware of his beautiful life as he triple hugged me before going to bed tonight. And all the while I kept thinking of what almost happened.
So, I know that summer is just about over, but please, please, be extremely careful around water. Here’s a few reminders when you’re around water with kids.
Let my experience be a reminder just how serious this can be.
1. Never ever take your eyes off of kids. Not even for a second. It happened so quickly today. One second he was there. The next I saw him flailing his arms. I was distracted by the brief conversation. And in that moment, he slipped away. Never again.
2. Always put your kids in a life vest. Even if you don’t think the water is that high, do it. No matter what.
3. Do NOT talk or text. I live with my phone in hand. But this is one circumstance where you just cannot.
4. Watch other people’s children. I’m sure the last thing you want at a pool party is to keep an eye on other people’s children. But if we all just take special note of the children and where they are at all times, it might be easier to prevent accidents.
5. Don’t be outnumbered. I was there with 3 kids who didn’t know how to swim. I could call myself stupid. But that won’t get me anywhere, will it? If you’re at a pool with kids, always have help in looking at the kids. If hubby could have come and wasn’t working, two sets of eyes would have been better than one.
6. Get swim lessons. At this point, there’s no reason why kids shouldn’t know how to swim. It could probably one of the best things they’ll ever learn. I’m making appointments ASAP for lessons.
Thanks for reading!
Now I’m going to go kiss my baby goodnight.