Today sucked. I should have known it was going to suck as soon as I got a paper cut. At the pool. Who gets a paper cut at the pool? A loser who’s working instead of splashing around in the water with her kids, that’s who.
After I got the paper cut I put my document away and just watched the kids play. Spencer got tired and headed over to the sand to play. Skyler was cold and decided to curl up in a towel on a beach chair next to me. Caleb was still having fun in the pool. I watched him leap of the diving board over and over again. He’s not a great swimmer, but he did pass the deep end test. He can usually swim from one end of the pool to the other. But we’d already been at the pool for over two hours and he was getting tired.
He decided to give up on the diving board and instead just started swimming around in the deep end. I watched him jump in from the side, splash around, and then swim over to the edge to do it all over again several times. Then it looked like he decided to jump in to swim over to the side I was on. When he got about half way across the pool I couldn’t see him anymore. Somebody was sitting in front me blocking my view. I figured I’d see him in a minute as he swam over further out of the blocked view.
But before he got back in my line of sight the lifeguard in front of me blew her whistle and jumped in to the pool. With her sweatshirt still on. I knew instantly it was Caleb. I leaped up out of my chair. Tears forming in my eyes.
The lifeguard reached him in seconds and lifted him up on her floatie. Three more lifeguards joined her; one with a flat board to lay him on if needed and another with a first aid kit. They pulled him out of the water on the other side of the pool. I watched in horror from my spot.
Caleb tried to scramble away. I think he was a little embarrassed. By this point he had four lifeguards standing over him and the whole pool was staring. But the lifeguard called him back over. They began to walk around the pool towards the office where I met up with them. The lifeguard, who couldn’t be more than 20-years-old, was visibly shaken. She said, “He was sinking down and flailing his arms. It made my heart stop.”
She wrote up a report; taking our name and address. Then she told Caleb he could get back in the pool. But we had all had enough of the pool by that point. I thanked her and then we found Spencer so we could leave.
I asked Caleb, “Were you having trouble swimming?”
“Um, yeah, a little bit.”
“We’re you scared.”
“I’m ok,” he said.
“I think you were getting tired. From now on you need to play in the shallow end when you start to get tired. They have a lot of fun stuff in the shallow end.”
“Yeah, the shallow end is fun too.”
I’ve made comments about the lifeguards before. About how they sit around in those sweatshirts (because we’ve had a record cold July) just blowing their whistle at kids who hang on the ropes or jump on each other backs. Many years ago, before Spencer knew how to swim, he got a little too far in the shallow end to a point where he could barely reach. The water was coming up over his chin. He started flailing around and hollering. A lifeguard was standing literally feet from him. I was standing on the edge of the shallow end, several feet away. I dove towards him, grabbing him by the arm, and pulling him closer to where he could reach. As I got him calmed down I looked over at the lifeguard. He was just looking at me like “Oh good. You got him.” I was pissed. So my opinion of the lifeguards wasn’t great.
But today they redeemed themselves. That lifeguard reached Caleb in seconds. The other lifeguards ran out of the office and got to the side of the pool in just a couple more seconds. They were on top of it. They were there when my baby needed them. And I am so thankful. I don’t know how I can ever repay them.