I think we all pretty much know the expression, "Life can change in the blink of an eye"...mine almost did this past weekend and not for the better.
We packed up the family and went over to our best friends' home for some pool time and dinner, a fairly regular weekend occurrence around these parts.
The girls were happily playing in the pool with two friends--baby girl hanging out on the large top step, big sister swimming around like a fish. I was in and out of the house doing whatever the heck it is that moms do (but yet, looking back on it now, I can't seem to remember exactly whatall I was doing), while the husband was sitting at the patio table about 20 feet from the pool, chatting with his buddy, having a cold beer, watching the kids.
I came out onto the patio and walked toward the pool. Something made me stop and count the children swimming in the water: one, two, three. Why are there three children in the water, I asked myself? There should only be two, and one on the step. About a nanosecond later, I realized that one of those three children was not swimming, but flailing about under water, a panicked look on her face, mouth gaping open and closed like a fish...drowning. I think my heart about stopped as I took inventory in another nanosecond and realized that it was my baby girl, who was no longer on the top step.
I then proceeded to do what I do best in a crisis--scream for the husband...remember him, the one 20 feet from the pool, "watching" the kids? Yeah, him.
He jumped right into the water and quickly got her out. She coughed up some water while we fussed over her, lightly thumping her on the back to facilitate any remaining water to come out until she told us, "Stop Daddy."
She then proceeded to go hang back out on the top step, this time with her arm band floaties on, something that had been missing from the picture earlier.
We went about the rest of the day with no problem.
It wasn't until Sunday that the full potential of what happened hit me. Perhaps it was shock that kept me from realizing it the day before when it all went down. But now, when I close my eyes, all I can see is the look on her face, the panic in her eyes, and wonder how long it would have been before someone saw her had I not walked out when I did. The day could have taken a horrific turn for the worse. It didn't but, oh my god, I just cannot get that look on her face out of my mind.
I see it when I close my eyes, when I sleep at night. So I hold her a little tighter, hug her a little longer, kiss her a few more times. She is still here with us and she is okay--a checkout by the doctor on Sunday found her lungs clear but still...the 'what-ifs' haunt me.
And the husband? Meh, to him this was no big deal. She's fine, as he swears he knew she'd be. To say that ours has been a happy loving relationship lo these past few days would be about 180 degrees from the reality. My confidence has been shaken to the core. How can I have faith that when I leave him alone with the girls going forward there won't be another incident like this? Perhaps not a near-drowning, but something else. When I voiced this thought, he got bent out of shape, couldn't believe I would feel that way when it was an accident.
True, but if you had a babysitter (and let me clarify, my husband is not a babysitter, I'm just hypothesizing here so go with it) who had been watching your children when something like this happened, would you ever use that babysitter again?
I didn't think so.
I rest my case.