My Child Almost Died Right Beside Me and This is Why

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Yesterday, the worst almost happened. I almost lost my youngest child to drowning.

I am still not recovered emotionally, and this is very hard to write, but it is my fault she came so close to drowning, and I want to share with you why.

Yesterday was a typical day. I had a lot on my mind- the possibility of quitting my job next month, scaling this blog to help support my family, and planning for the new school year. I was voice texting  friends about everything that is going on in our lives.

I had multiple conversations going on in my head:

Bible class teachers and youth minister’s wife- “Let’s get together for coffee and create goals for 3rd-5th grade kids.”

My sister in law- “Do you want to have a party for Grammy this Saturday?”

My husband-” I’m picking up the part for the van. I will be a little late”

My dad- “Just letting you know I love you.”

My friends and I were also conversing about which curriculum to choose and parenting decisions we are all facing.

I was distracted.

This was the mistake that almost cost me my child. Being distracted came within a minute of destroying my family.

I was carrying our baby bunnies out to their hutch to keep them away from our puppy. My two year old tagged along with me. She went with the dog to the right of our above ground pool. She always runs and plays with the dog. I went to the left of the pool to the bunny hutch.

I put the bunnies away and listened to a message from my friend. I looked to my left and there stood my daughter, at the top of the ladder, taking a step into the water.

And just like that she was in the pool.

I screamed her name, but she didn’t acknowledge me. I threw my phone down and ran to the pool.I was in the water within seconds, but she was already in the middle of the pool, underwater.

It only took me a second to reach her and pull her out. She wasn’t even coughing or struggling. She was FINE. But I was NOT. I held her tight and sobbed. I thanked God over and over for her safety. I begged forgiveness for being distracted.

You see, I was distracted and didn’t notice she had climbed the ladder, but I was also distracted enough to leave the ladder in the pool in the first place.

We always remove the ladder from the pool and put it away. We are careful to keep all objects that she could use for climbing far away from the pool. We had cleaned the pool an hour earlier, and I didn’t remember to bring it back out because I WAS DISTRACTED.

The what if’s keep running through my mind:

What if I had not looked up at that exact moment? Would she have drowned right beside me before I noticed?

What if one of her siblings had been watching her instead of me?

What if I do something this stupid again, and it doesn’t end as well?

What if I had not prayed to God for her safety and protection every single day since before she was born?

I was distracted, but I also made assumptions.

I assumed she was playing with the dog. She wasn’t.

I assumed the ladder was removed. It wasn’t.

I assumed that she would ask to swim like she always does. She didn’t.

I assumed that I would notice something going on ten feet from my head. I did not. I was distracted.  She climbed the ladder and stepped off before I registered anything had happened.

Nothing she did in those moments was characteristic for her. Even when wearing a life jacket, she is pensive when it comes to getting in the pool. But in that moment she quietly climbed up and stepped right in with no hesitation.

That is why as parents, we must be on our toes at all times. We put safety precautions in place, but we have to be alert for when they fail.

I am grateful beyond words that I did not have to pay the ultimate price for being distracted. I pray that I never do.

Yesterday taught me that maybe my phone needs a time out. I don’t play games or waste time scrolling social media, but constant input and demand on my attention is not good for my brain and certainly not for my family. Everyone and everything else can wait.

It also taught me that tragedy doesn’t always happen to someone else. I came within a minute or two of being the cautionary tale for others.

I knew better. I know all about pool safety. I have written about how we are better mothers without our phones. I make an effort to be present and focused with my children. Yesterday, I failed.

Please join me in trying to be there for our children, not just in body, but in mind.

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