I Don't Think I Will Sleep Much Tonight

First, let me preface. I have debated about this post for the last three hours. I recognize in writing this post that the situation itself places judgement. I do not mean to judge, but simply recap a very difficult situation I was a part of today. Just the facts. No strings attached.

You see, in the summer, if we are not home, we are at the pool. We live there. Our kids wake up and immediately want their swim suits on. The question is asked a million times, "is it time to go swimming yet?" They wait all year for these few weeks of water.

Today was no different. It was around 1pm and everyone was in the water. Our 8 and 5 year old were doing tricks off the high dive while I sat on the steps with our daughter. She is almost 2. Once off the steps, the water is 3 ft deep. The further you get from the steps, the deeper the water. It gradually goes from 3ft to 5ft etc.

As I was sitting and playing with our youngest, I noticed a little boy who looked about three. He was tall enough to stand on the bottom of the 3ft pool, and was playing in the water. Before long he was making his way further away from the steps. I was watching our oldest children at the other end of the pool, watching our youngest, and now, couldn't stop looking at this little boy.

He started to look like he was in trouble. The water was above his mouth but he didn't seem to be panicking. I couldn't tell. I looked around for a parent. I looked up at the life guard. She was at the edge of her seat also trying to decide if this boy needed help.

The "watching game" went on for about 60 seconds. It seemed like 5 minutes. Both of us honed in on this young boy. I hollered at the life guard and asked her if she wanted me to get him.

She didn't have time to answer me, she was too busy jumping in. As she was jumping in I was grabbing my daughter off the steps, heading toward the little boy.

The life guard wrapped her arms around him just as I grabbed his arm.

He was in trouble. He was drowning. Really drowning. He was in shock and showed no dramatic signs of distress. He was just sinking. Seeing a child drowning is unsettling.

The life guard was great. She got him out, got him breathing correctly, and went through all the correct procedures.

Other lifeguards came to help, but when all was settled she said to him in a very friendly voice, "Let's get a life jacket on you, okay?"

Then she asked "Where is your mom?" No one had huddled around the drama to claim him.

The life guard got the boy's life jacket on and then they started to find who he belonged to.

They found his mother, at a table, her back to the pool.

Painting Her Nails.

I spent extra time putting our children to bed. I just couldn't leave them. They didn't see my tears, but I shed them.

It will be a long time before I forget today. Probably Never.

Family Volley


  1. Ugh. Thank goodness at least you were there.

  2. Been there. It's a sight you'll never forget. Fortunately, you are able now to recognize it for what it is, and you can act quickly if you ever see it again. It happens really fast. Here is an article you may consider sharing to educate others. Unless we see it for ourselves, we really don't know what it looks like. Hugs to you.

  3. That's so sad. We spend a lot of time at the beach and there are so many moms that sit far from the water and sand (because they don't like the sand) and chat or whatever, while little kids (from 2 up) play in the water and run wherever. They make fun of me for sitting on the sand close to the water and make my kids all stay near me. If they want to go to the park, we all go. If they want to be in the water, we all are there. I just think if any kid starts to drown there is no way they would ever make it to the water in time. And there are no life guards.
    Thanks for sharing and confirming my "craziness".

  4. I got chills while reading this. I didn't know drowning could take place like that. Thank God for you and the lifeguard, and for you guys being angels on earth for this little boy.

  5. We have developed a family tag system. If I have to leave one of the kids, especially by the water, I tag someone. I physically grab their arm, look them in the eye, and tell them they are tagged to watch Asher or Abbie. That way we never have to worry about them being unattended. If little things happen, I don't make a big deal about it then the kids aren't scared in the future.

  6. This article changed what I look for to identify drowning:

    It describes drowning as silent and free of struggle--no calling for help, no waving arms, no splashing. Head generally partly above water. You have to be paying very close attention to catch it.

  7. Catherine and Cheryl, thanks for the articles. That is exactly what it looked like.
    Head a little out of the water, no waving or fighting.

  8. Andrea,
    You and I can be crazy together. I am like you. I need to be right next to them. Able to see them at all times. When we go... we all go.

    There were so many emotions as I went through the experience yesterday. There was gratitude, and humility, but I would be lying if I didn't admit there was anger and frustration and a strong desire to "give her a piece of my mind."

    There was also sadness. I couldn't understand the lack of attention and concern before, during and after.

    I could understand from a textbook point of view, from studying families and psychology, but not from a Mother's point of view.

  9. Oh I could stand on a soap box about this for a long time. Living in FL I firmly believe every child should know how to swim and I am always astounded when people see my 15 month old swimming and yet are putting floaties on their 3 year old telling me swim lessons are too inconvenient, difficult or too expensive. Really, really? it is a LIFE skill and you live in FL with pools, canals, ponds and lakes EVERYWHERE. I have personally pulled 3 children out of the pool while their Moms were chatting and can't say I am perfect but water is dangerous, a simple fact frequently forgotten. I can relate to your range of emotions about it, all them understandable. And actually I think it is a good thing you won't soon forget it.

  10. I'm with you: I don't understand it from a mother's point of view. Is it complacency? Carelessness? Fatigue? I just don't get it. But that's probably a good thing. It's a good reminder to always be safeguarding our children - against dangers seen and unseen.

  11. I've never understood how parents can be so lax about their kids safety. I do not think you're being judgmental, I think you're a good person for looking out for the welfare of a child that isn't yours. You're my hero.

  12. I just read the article in the comments. Wow. I had NO idea that was the norm. Thanks for sharing this.

  13. I found the articles really valuable also. Thanks for sharing, and Andrea, thanks for reading.

  14. Thank you everyone for all your support with this today.
    Between the experience itself and the reaction of the mother, oh it was a tough situation.

    I appreciate the reassurance.

  15. Wow.

    This scares me. I read the articles in the comments and re-posted on FB.

    Thank heavens for you, and for that attentive life guard.

    And I'm trying really hard not to judge the Mom, also, but really? Even when her kid was being RESCUED, she had no idea? She must have had a lot on her mind that day.

  16. Amazing-what a blessing for that little one-wonder if he will ever be told about it or remember?

    Thank you, Catherine, for the link.

    We are hosting a large party at a neighborhood pool this weekend & I am very worried about parents not keeping watch on their kids. We have a few "watchers" assigned, but I am still concerned. I think I will send out the link with the party reminder.

  17. Thank you for posting this. We all need reminders of how fast a situation can happen.

  18. my goodness! i am so glad that i went back and read over your past posts (being on vacation for 2+weeks puts me a bit behind..)
    Water scares me when my children and other children are involved. Things can happen so fast and if you aren't paying attention..that's when it gets dangerous! I'll have to go read those articles...thank you for posting this!

  19. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.


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