Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grateful for God's Protection

Curt and Alli
When I was a little kid, I had a few "active drowning" incidents in the water that were terrifying.  While those incidents didn't scare me entirely out of the water, they did make me terrified of being under the water, a fear I've been forced to overcome as I learned to swim in the past few years.  I think those childhood moments of thinking I might drown also led to an abnormal fear that my children will drown.

I am The Mom in the water, hovering over my kids.  Gasping if they go under the water and don't surface immediately.  Reaching for them if even remotely act like they're struggling.  Making them wear life jackets even though they've passed swim lessons.  Not letting them go in the deep water without an adult, even if there's a life guard on duty.  If my kids are by water, I can't relax.

As they've gotten older and become better swimmers, I've loosened my grip on them a bit, but only a little.  For crying out loud, Grant spent the last three months in the swimming pool playing water polo and I still get indigestion when he wants to go to the pool to swim with his friends.

Tonight was the season finale for Alli's softball team.  Purple Thunder capped off a really fun season with a private pool party and a picnic in the park.  Most of the parents watched the kids from the bleachers, but being the Hover Mom I am when it comes to the water, I got in with the kids.  Tonight, it paid off.

Grant is an excellent swimmer.  Katie and Alli are capable, but not experienced.  They only just learned how to put all the swim strokes together and still need to learn to tread water better, but they both easily passed the swim test for the life guard to get into the deep end.  Paige would drown if she was dropped in water over her head.  It FREAKS me out.  She just finished her fourth round of swim lessons and finally graduated to the next level.

The Chehalem Pool doesn't have a shallow end.  It has a pool deck that drops off immediately to close to 4 feet.  It's over Paige's head.  Curt and I took turns in the shallow end staying within arm's length of Paige. I was on duty in the shallow side playing with Paige and talking to some of the girls from the softball team when I heard the lifeguard yell, "Are you okay?"  Then again more urgently, "Are you okay?"  I turned and saw my sweet Alli underwater, flailing wildly with a panicked look on her face.  It was terrifying.

I've never swam so fast in my life.  I got to her right as the lifeguard arrived at the side of the pool.  I pulled her out of the water, she clung to my neck, and I swam to the side.  The lifeguard, who apparently got down from her perch and dashed around the pool to where Alli was, said Alli jumped into the shallow end and then panicked.  It was like she forgot she knew how to swim so she just sank.  And once her head went under water, she panicked even more.  She told me she was pushing her tippy toe off the bottom and trying to get her head above water but couldn't keep it there.  AGGHHH!!!!!

Alli and I after my marathon
Alli and I sat on the edge of the pool, holding each other and decompressing.  We praised Jesus for keeping her safe, took deep breaths to calm down, and within ten minutes she was back in the deep end swimming like nothing had happened.  Oh to have the resilience of a child.

She's sound asleep now and I can't get the image of her floundering in the water out of my mind.  It's hard not to run the "what if's."  So instead I'm choosing to be grateful.  Grateful that I was in the water and within easy reach of my daughter.  Grateful that I took the time to learn how to swim three years ago so that I could actually swim to her quickly.  Grateful that she doesn't seemed very rattled by the entire experience.  Grateful that she is safe and sleeping peacefully in her bed.  Grateful for an attentive, well-trained life guard who knew to sound the alarm.  Grateful for God's protection over my sweet, fearless daughter.  Grateful for the reminder that we can never be too cautious with our kids when it comes to water.  Grateful, grateful, grateful...

Thank you Jesus for giving me another day with this incredible little girl.  What a gift.


  1. Oh darling friend..that must've been so scary. I used to teach swimming lessons and was a guard for years and the ocean still scares me greatly (and most large bodies of water). But he put you right there to pull your daughter out in the same way He often pulls us out even when our feet can touch the bottom but we forget which way is up.
    You are so lovely my friend and such an amazing mother.
    Love, Anna

    1. "the same way He often pulls us out even when our feet can touch the bottom but we forget which way is up." That's poetic Anna. And so true. Thank for that reminder. And for your encouragement. I sure wish we lived closer. I think we'd have some good times together. Would you and Ruthie like to come for a visit soon?