01 August 2008

Not funny at all

Writers note: Just letting the reader know, everyone is fine, no more need to worry than that which has already happened. I know personally that someone, remaining un-named but with the initials GRAM, will need this knowledge before reading further.

I'm not really sure where to start. I have waited three hours after the incident, and I am already shaking and tearing just trying to put the day into words. Please do not mistake the small attempts at humor as being uncaring, or crass. It's just this mamma bear's way of trying to not come apart at the seams. I"ll start at the beginning.

Today my grandfather is having his pacemaker replaced. Well, technically grandfather-in-law, but he's just too dear to add that part. Anyway, my father-in-law was going down to Jeff City to be with his dad and more importantly, to sit with his mom during the procedure. My mother-in-law decided to go as well to support them all, and since Heath never gets to be with his family during important events, he went as well. No big deal. Well, the kids and I stayed home, and were going to have just a normal day at Granny Sue and Papa's house. That did mean one terrifying detail for me, but I was going to be the cool, sporting Mom, and proceed despite my fears.

I have two great fears in life. My children swimming, and then anything else that could harm my child. So great is the fear of my kids being in any place of water that is more than six inches deep, that I have never taken them somewhere to swim without Heath. I am not that great of a swimmer. I do just well enough to enjoy a diving board, but just keep my head above water. Heath on the other hand is like a marine mammal. I never worry when we swim because I know that no matter what danger might have to be faced, he will save my child.

I did not want to be a party pooper, so I decided I would face my fear, and take the kids swimming at a friend's house. Whoever said you should face your fears, should be forced to face a firing squad! So from the moment I woke up today, I pleaded with God to just let it rain. It had been overcast and dreary all morning, it wouldn't have been anything miraculous. And then I wouldn't be the bad guy, but at the same time would not be a basket case either. But to no avail. So off we went. I was consoling myself with what I had learned from our swimming trip yesterday. The kids were pretty good. Malcolm has discovered that he can swim on his own, even diving of the diving board without floaties. Huge accomplishment for this child. Jeffie Jean is just a little shy of enough confidence to be right there by his side. She uses floaties when in the deep end without an adult, and does well. Daniel isn't quite that brave this year, but still wasn't a worry because he never takes of the floaties. Heath, the younger, is the same as Daniel. Terry is terrified of the water, wears a full body life jacket thing, so even if he were to slip and fall into the water, he would be perfectly safe. That left me with Paulee, who at twelve months old, gets to stay in mom's arms. So I was feeling as confident as I possibly could, and we set out.

The kids were wonderful. No running off, no running around the pool (probably had something to do with the threat of not swimming for two days if they did), and eerily enough, no fighting. Paulee was mesmerized by the pool, and I really had to watch her. She'd just crawl right off the edge into the pool if I let her out of my reach. We had been there an hour, when I look up and see Heath twirling like a top on the diving board. No big deal to most people. The child did NOT have his floaties on his skinny little arms. That's right did NOT. That boy got the full force mom speech. Not just three full names escaped from my mouth, but the entire fourth one too. "RICHARD HEATH BUSTER, JUNIOR! WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?!" He jumped so high, I thought he was going to go straight in the pool. I lectured him big time on the dangers of playing on a diving board when you cannot swim and you do not have any safety devises strapped, duct taped, and glued to you. I thought I would puke. The child was shaking like a leaf, and decided to play in the shallow end for a while. Good, I can play with Paulee, torture Terry as I pull him in the pool, and keep my hands on Heath. Wish I was an octopus.

Heath eventually wondered off to play catch with Malcolm, and I rested on the steps with Paulee and Terry. I started my 1,292nd head count, and that's when the world stopped. I sat there for what felt an eternity watching my four year old desperately trying to swim to the edge of the pool, but not even successfully keeping his head above water. He didn't have his floaties on his arms. Finally, his name came thundering out of my mouth, and I leaped into action. What a wonderful blessing that the owners of the pool were not home. It is everyday a six month pregnant woman, in a bathing suit none the less, goes running around the pool as fast as this ex-track star can go. Poor Paulee was probably being held around her neck. Couldn't put her down, she'd just fall in the pool too. But then came my hero. I yelled one more name. Malcolm. He was swimming on the deep end. Yes, the same ten year old whose mind I just don't understand. He turned around, saw his little brother, swooped in, and drug him up and over the side of the pool. The images I have flashing through my mind at this point will only be understood by our closest family. Vent tubes, IVs, scarred heels, a bull. I can't make them stop. This child, the one I blew up at just half and hour before, is now laying next to me gasping and sputtering for all he was worth. The water finally comes gushing out, and he grabs me and clings to me as an opossum. Through my tears, I begin as softly as I can, what I expect to be a very solemn, scary conversation.

"What happened, sweetheart?"

"I couldn't swim."

"Why didn't you yell for Mommy?"

"It was kinda too hard. My mouth had all the water in it.

And the question I was dying to ask:

"How on earth did you end up in the pool?"

"Well, I jumped in of course."

WHAT! Did he not listen to one word I said? I could have pinched his beautiful little head off in that moment.

"Jump in?! I told you never without your floaties!"

"Um Mom. You said I couldn't jump off the diving board without my floaties. Malcolm and I were playing catch, and I needed to get the ball, so I jumped off the side of the pool to get it. Not the diving board."

I look over at Malcolm, and he is laughing. LAUGHING! How dare him. I asked him what he thought was so funny. He just giggled. "You're crying, Heath's crying, but he's fine. No big deal." Oh that mind of his.

So we all played in the shallow end for quite some time. Terry even allowed me to pull him away from the sides, and Paulee kept shoving her head underwater, then yelling at me for letting that happen. Malc and I were sitting next to each other for a moment and I asked him, "Do you realize what you did today?".


"No really, Malcolm. Do you understand what you did?"

"Yeah Mom. I virtuously saved Heath-ers life."

He then drew in a huge breath, pushed it out very quickly, and laid his head on my shoulder. Yeah, guess I'll have to lay off that mind of his. He knows exactly what is going on around him.

As for Heath? He was so effected by the event, he put his floaties on, jumped in the deep in, and sang a made up song about how he was drowning again. If only we could all recover that quickly. Not me. I am letting you know right now, this is one fear I will not face for the rest of the year. Who am I kidding. It probably won't happen next year either.


Anonymous said...

Great story! I began shaking when I read the opening disclaimer.
Soooo glad everything turned out so well.
You're a brave, brave woman. Sorry I couldn't be home to help watch the kids.
BTW, you are a great writer!

Chris B.

Gram said...

Thank you for the disclaimer at the first. I kept reading with the belief that my daughter wouldn't lie to me and that everything and everyone was ok. Hug them both for me.