A couple of summers ago, I was served a piece of humble pie.
It was June and we invited another couple and their kiddos over to swim in our pool. We’d only had a pool for a few months and we were loving it! No more driving to a friend’s house to swim or paying for a membership just for access to a public pool. It was the best!
But, on that particular day, I got a huge reality check.
Drownings are quiet.
Why didn’t I ever think about this before? When you think of it, it makes sense. Of course, drownings are quiet (when we’re talking about children, at least). They don’t know to kick and scream and make a lot of noise.
If you’re thinking- oh, that would never happen to me, let me tell you, it damn well could. Because, it almost happened to me.
Our house was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a cow farm. Our view was picturesque and the only noise that you heard was from the cows, maybe a tractor or 2 and the usual birds chirping. So, there really wasn’t any other noise around us. We didn’t live in a big city or even a big subdivision. You couldn’t hear other children yelling and playing. We didn’t have any music playing and we didn’t have our nose in our phones. It was pretty quiet.
We were in the perfect situation to hear a drowning. Except that, you don’t hear drownings.
It was just the 4 of us adults, and our 4 kids that day at our pool. My friend and I were sitting on the deck, facing the pool and her husband was in the pool with the 2 older kids and, I thought that we were paying attention. But, we weren’t. Her and I were having a conversation about something and her husband was playing with the kids in the pool, when her 2-year-old slipped into the pool unnoticed. He’d been sitting on the pool deck right next to us, having a snack (without a life jacket on), several feet away from the water when he slowly made his way to the edge of the pool without notice.
As we’re sitting there chatting, with the pool in our peripherals, my friend caught a glimpse, and shrieked. She lunged forward and was in the pool before I could even fully process what had happened.
What I saw before she jumped in gave me nightmares for the next week.
As she was lunging towards the pool, I saw her son floating in the water, feet down and arms straight out, as if he had just jumped in, straight up and down. His eyes were wide open and big, as he was looking right at us, probably wondering what was happening and how long it was going to take for us to see him, because he wasn’t moving a muscle.
He just floated.
He didn’t even blink his eyes.
He wasn’t trying to swim.
He didn’t cry for his mom.
He didn’t kick his legs or paddle his feet.
He fell in and floated.
We were so incredibly lucky that day, that she saw him when she did. Her husband was in the pool with his back towards him, just a few feet away and didn’t even notice. That’s how quiet it was.
Fortunately, even though he didn’t move a muscle, he did hold his breath, and he was perfectly fine when she pulled him out of the water. Needless to say, it traumatized us more than it did him.
Now, I know you’re reading this thinking, “Duh! He should’ve had a life jacket on!” And, you’re right. He absolutely should have. We made the mistake of taking it off so that he could sit down and eat his snack- clearly naive to how quickly tragedy could strike.
But, I want you to learn from our mistake. And remember that drownings are quiet.
I don’t want you to experience something like we did- the almost drowning.