They say drowning is silent. I've never experienced this particular fear. There was one time, Ethan wasn't swimming well and slipped into the deep end. He didn't see where the deep end dropped off and had to be rescued. That was the moment I enrolled them all in swimming lessons. I wasn't going to have that ever happen again. Not for a moment if I could help it. If we were to be near water, they would be capable of swimming.
Recently, it happened. It was silent, and there wasn't much time left. He was three years old. His mother was chatting and hadn't barely even turned her head to speak. I'd done my "headcount" several times. You know- 1, 2, 3, 4 children swimming and laughing. I thought to myself, Okay, we're good. I can see them. I can hear them. People who are really drowning cannot shout for help. They are physically unable as their lungs are truly filling with water.
His mother was a stranger to me and obviously, loved her children...all boys 5, 3, and 1. Before she came over to the pool, she had been pushing them on the swings and letting them play on the playground. I had no idea he couldn't swim. I'd heard her tell him that he could sit on the edge and touch his feet in the water, but no one heard him slip, quietly, off the entry steps.Then she looked over and shouted, "He can't swim!"
But there he was, silent, with terror in his eyes. Unable to speak. Unable to move. The water was at mouth level. It looked like he was standing up. But the fear on his face will be forever etched in my memory. It happened so quickly. One second he was dipping his feet in the pool. And the next, he was minutes, seconds away from drowning. Daniel was close by, so I screamed, "Grab him! Put him up on the steps!" So Daniel picked up that frightened, precious, little fella and carried him to safety. He came out sputtering, coughing out water.
Never have a few short seconds mattered so much. We could have been on the opposite end of those much needed moments. I shudder to think of how different that afternoon could have been.
My prayer is that God would be ever with us. That He would help us to focus in this world full of distractions...