Last summer I had one of those days that just rattles you as mom! It started as a perfect Southern California summer day. My family just finished a day at the beach and were headed up to the pool to take a quick dip before dinner. We reached the pool gate and as we entered my husband and I realized that my 2-year-old’s “puddle jumper” floatie was in the car.
As a TOTAL lapse in judgment, I sent Daddy to the car to get it. I told my 4 kids they could sit on the side of the pool next to me with their feet in until Daddy got back. Quickly I realized this plan wasn’t going to work. I held my 4-month-old while wrestling my 2-year-old, who was NOT content to merely sit on the side. We needed to change plans. I pulled my 2-year-old up, holding his hand while leading him away from the step we had been sitting near. I told all my kids to head for the gate so we could wait outside the pool area until Daddy returned with the puddle jumper.
Turning my back to find our pool key and, already frazzled, I tried to gather our things, baby in tow. I looked back and saw my 3 older kids heading out the gate and felt a panic. My eyes immediately met my 2-year-olds’ under the water. His wide eyes were looking at me frantically waving his arms in a terrified panic from under the water. It wasn’t loud, as they say. It was so quiet and his little arms did nothing to bring him closer to the surface.
I screamed, reached for him, and began climbing in, still holding my 4-month-old. I pulled him out and to the side, myself fully clothed and drenched from the waist down. Now I was holding two wet babies. As I sat there holding him, I felt completely destroyed emotionally. You know those moments where life flashes before you, suddenly anything you were worried about before seems ridiculous and you just want to cry. He was totally fine, probably only under for a few seconds. Though it felt like slow motion and still makes me shake to retell this story.
I sat at a table in the pool area holding my 4-month-old and 2-year-old, and the many other people in the pool area said NOTHING. There was a man sitting across the table from me who kind of just watched, but said nothing. I have never felt so alone in a crowded summer pool area. The large number of people at the pool just sat back and watched me jump into the pool fully clothed and holding my 4-month-old to try and retrieve my toddler. Who knows, maybe it happened so fast and they were busy and didn’t see, but sometimes I feel like we live in world where we don’t really interact with the people outside of our bubble, even in a situation like that.
It reminds me to make an effort myself, because I know I’m guilty of not entering in and keeping to my own “bubble”. Later that evening, however, I was encouraged as I watched my very social, little shirtless buddy wandering around enjoying his ice cream. There were teens all over the lawn we were playing on (this was during the Pokemon Go! craze), and when my son circled the tree near the road, I jumped to follow. A young, probably middle-school-aged kid smiled at me and said, “He’s right here. I’m watching him to make sure he doesn’t go into the street.” Faith in humanity, restored! I definitely “saw God” in that boy that night, and was reminded that I am never alone— even when it feels that way sometimes.
Also, I learned that it is SO IMPORTANT to let it go.
I felt like a total failure, and I kept imagining what could have happened, reliving the event and beating myself up about it. There are SO MANY humbling moments in motherhood. It is very easy to dwell on them and let them steal your joy, but it is how we move past them that really define us. These moments help us grow and become stronger. I am so thankful my story has an easier ending than many summertime pool incidents. As we approach summer, I gear up physically and mentally, but ultimately put my trust in the Lord.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)