11 July 2008

tragedy in the water

(before reading this post - know that all persons involved and mentioned are just fine and suffer no post-traumatic trauma, yet).

Today was our ward's RS day at the lake. Moms and kids come with blankets and picnics to visit, get some sun and let the kids play in the sand and waves. I came out with my 4 to co-host with my mom, set up bounce houses and bring out the sand toys. It was a beautiful day. Not too hot but warm enough for kids to swim.

I am lightly mingling, but keeping good track of the kids and guests - trying to strike that balance. I am lying on the hammock, spending some good time with the kids, and then decide I need to visit with some friends. So I am standing on the patio and I look back at the hammock and see Mercer giving my iPhone a ride.

"No, no, no... Give that to mom."
"But I was swinging your phone." I had scary visions of my shiny phone crashing to the scratchy, dirty bricks below.

Then I am talking again and Rori comes up to me to buckle her life jacket.
"Uhn lauder." (water)
"Okay, go swim." I say, thinking she'll just go dip her toes in again and play in the sand like usual.

I go back to chitchatting about babies and baby weight that NEVER comes off and glance up. I see floundering in the water, in the colors of Rori's life jacket, way further out than she should be. I think I muttered some odd syllable and then took off. I did the 50 yard dash, dodging coolers and babies, children and cookies. As I get to the beach, 2 small children moved right in my way. I didn't have time to change directions, so I crashed right into them, (completely accidentally) and fell into the water up to my neck. I struggle up and and take the few remaining steps to pull Rori out of the water.

I carry my small little girl onto the grass and put her down, to catch my breath and slow my heart rate down for a minute. She's okay. It's okay, I keep saying to myself. It's okay.

I can't count the number of times that Lilli has almost drowned. She thinks she can swim and has thought so since she was 1. They say in Orange County, that drowning claims the highest number of deaths of small children. I have come so close too many times.
Once at a friend's house, I was 9 months pregnant with Rori, and all the dads and kids were in the pool and hot tub. I am sitting not 5 feet away and look over and Lilli is in the center of the hot tub - huge eyes, panic covering her face that is completely submerged under the water. I jumped in the hot tub in my shoes and maternity jeans, and pull her up. It happens so fast, I don't have time to give directions to anyone else to save her. My sister-in-law saved Lilli this past weekend in my uncle's pool. She heard some gurgling and turned around to see Lilli under the water behind her. Other times, it has been when the kids were in the pool right next to me, arm's length away... I always have walked away from these experiences humbled, and with a message from God telling me to pay attention.

Today I was embarrassed and relieved and overwhelmed all at once.
I slowly walk back up the lawn to the patio, and people start asking me "What happened? Did you mean to go jump in the water?" No one else saw my child drowning. But she is okay. And I will pay more attention.

(On a side note and not to take away from the seriousness of the incident, but once I realize Rori is fine, a smaller but still unfortunate tragedy hits me: I am fully clothed and in my pocket is my phone. The one I rescued from Mercer.

So my phone drowned today. If anyone out there is upgrading soon to a 3G iPhone... looking to sell off their old iPhone - I am looking to buy.)


Nicki July 11, 2008 at 11:51 PM  

Thank you for this post so that I feel better about myself!

Last Saturday I was within arms reach of Grant while he was playing on the stairs in the pool. All of a sudden, I look in front of me and he's barely bobbing up and down, struggling to keep his head out of the water, huge eyes. It's the most awful sight! And it happens SO QUICK!

But, I like how you worded it, we feel humbled and with a message from God telling us to pay attention.

Oh, I hope I don't have to be told again!

I'm glad Rori is okay!

Steph July 12, 2008 at 7:56 PM  

Amen, sista. I doubt there is a (human) mother out there that hasn't had that same experience at least once. Trey's at that age also where he THINKS he can swim, so he's just an accident waiting to happen.

I'm glad this story had a (quasi) happy ending!!


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