Today I'm feeling thankful for this boy.
He keeps me on my toes and forces me to stay humble as a parent.
His silly antics, goofy grin and frequent "I wub you mama" make up for the drama about food and shoes...or anything else that isn't particularly perfect.
I was reminded a couple days ago just how fragile life is.
I was also reminded how God watches over his little ones.
I am thankful for an Auntie who happened to notice the top of a blonde head bobbing near the surface at the deep end of a neighbors pool. Just in time.
My husband, my sister in law Brook and our gaggle of noisy excited kids were all getting ready to go for a swim. The weather was hot making tempers flare as little ones scrambled to find shoes and towels.
Relieved I shoved them all out the door.
I enjoyed a moment of peace as I buckled the baby into her car seat and drove off in our SUV to visit a good friend and her newborn baby girl. I went bearing the gift of home made soup and armed with my camera.
As I enjoyed my relaxing little visit with a friend and snuggled with an itty bitty brand new baby, my kids cooled off at a neighbors pool with their Auntie and their Daddy.
I had hoped I would beat them home so I could help my husband with the drippy, wet, chaotic aftermath of swim time. When I pulled up I noticed that they were already home and that the kids were showered and in their pj's. I was impressed by their efficiency.
Silas came running down the driveway to meet me in his red sleepers shouting
"Mommy we're home, I did something really dangerous but Auntie saved me!"
Used to wild 4 year old tales I smiled and said something like "oh dear, that was nice of Auntie".
It wasn't until I met the somber looking adults inside that the rest of the story unfolded.
Silas had been wearing his yellow life jacket while everyone played, swam and took turns jumping off of the little diving board. This summer was the first time he was brave enough to join in the jumping. He did his silly flips, splashed into the water and then doggie paddled his bouyant yellow body over the the ladder.
Because he is a scrawny skinny little boy he gets cold quickly, even with a wet suit. After some swim time Nathanael took our shivering little boy to a bench at the side of the pool to get warmed up. I had packed along a fleece sweater knowing at some point he would want to wear it, even with the heat. Silas insisted on removing the cold wet life jacket and replaced it with his warm fuzzy sweater and a towel. He sat happily bundled up while the others continued their horse play. Nathanael checked on Silas a few minutes later and asked if he wanted to come back in the pool. Silas assured his Daddy that he wanted to stay on the bench.
Minutes later, no one noticed him get up, take off his sweater and walk toward the deep end of the pool. He walked bravely to the end of the white board and jumped off forgetting that his skinny little body was no longer buoyant.
Like all the times before he plunged into the water but this time he didn't pop back up. He paddled and struggled to get his face above the water but only the top of his wet blonde hair broke through to the surface.
As he struggled quietly and unnoticed in the deep end of the pool his Auntie who was on the other side of the pool just happened to glance that direction. It took a couple seconds to register who she was seeing and what was happening. Her first thought was to call out to her brother but he was so surrounded by screeching, rowdy kids climbing all over him that it would take too much time to try to get his attention. In those quick seconds she decided to start swimming with her eyes focused on the struggling 4 year old boy.
It was probably only seconds later that she made it over to him but by that time he had stopped his fight toward the surface and was slowly headed for the bottom of the pool, pencil straight and perfectly still. His open eyes stared through the water looking at nothing. She grabbed him under his tiny armpit and kicked for the surface pushing his body up over her head so he would reach oxygen before she did.
As she surfaced she expected him to gasp for the air he had craved, cry , and cough but he didn't do any of those things. He remained limp and not breathing. She screamed "Nathanael, Silas is drowning!" and pushed him up onto the edge of the pool.
Nathanael swam over to the side of the pool where they managed to convince him to breath again. Water ran from him mouth as he took timid breaths.
Once assured that he was recovered and breathing properly they packed up and came home.
As bits and pieces of the story were pieced together for me,
the tears and trauma showed on Brooks face. Stress and worry looked like weights on Nathanael's shoulders. I felt guilty for feeling numb. I wasn't there for those moments of fear and panic. It seemed like only a strange story that couldn't be reconciled with the ornery hungry little boy whining for dinner.
It didn't hit me until later.
We were minutes away from losing a child or having him severely altered. It can happen so easily, in a pool full of people.
One child quietly slipping beneath the surface, unnoticed until it's too late.
I am so thankful that Brook was prompted to look in the direction of my struggling son. I'm thankful that it wasn't his time to leave. I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who sends his angels to guide and protect. I'm thankful for a God who knows each of the hairs on our head and sees beneath the surface of the water to a little boy who forgot that he can't swim.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matt 10:29-31