Today was a day like any other. We were up at 7:30, had breakfast and were at the pool by 9 for the twins’ swimming lesson. Luke’s lesson started at 9:40 and the twins were playing on the steps in the shallow end with friends while I sat no more than 5 feet away chatting with the other moms. I was watching them, or I thought I was, when Ella yelled “Mommy, help Will!”. I looked up and saw Will completely submerged in the middle of the shallow end. It took me no more than 5 seconds to jump in and get to him, and he was fine when I pulled him up. He wasn’t coughing or choking, I had gotten to him before his breath had run out and he didn’t inhale any water.
I carried him out of the pool, my clothes dripping wet, and I was sobbing. It was by far the scariest moment of my entire life. He was crying and kept saying “I’m sorry Mommy, I just wanted to swim by myself. I didn’t mean to make you sad”. I told him it was ok and held him tight for a long time. Another mom retrieved my shoes, which had floated across the pool. I explained to him that he wasn’t ready to swim by himself yet and that he couldn’t get in the pool without an adult to help.
Everything is fine, he asked me to get in the pool and swim with him shortly after that. We swam around and he doesn’t seem to be afraid of the water. But I am. I looked away for maybe 10 seconds at most. What if Ella hadn’t said anything? Would I have looked back in time? Would a lifeguard have seen him in time? Would another mom have seen him in time? What if he had panicked and tried to take a breath?
Little Will is ok, but I definitely am not. All of these scenarios keep running through my head and I cannot get the picture of him completely submerged in the water out of my mind. It will be a long time before it fades.
Ten seconds seem like a short time but a situation can go from normal to critical instantly, especially in a pool. I’ll never allow them on the steps by themselves again, at least until they can swim independently. I’m so very thankful for my daughter’s quick thinking today. Three year-old’s are more observant than we think.
Hug your little ones extra tight today, and don’t take your eyes off them for a second!