I’d been sitting on the pool steps with Justin kicking the water. Larry was working and all the other kids were inside the house. Justin and I were having a little one on one time. I happened to notice a couple weeds in the garden just a few feet away. I left Justin sitting at the pool with his feet in the water at the shallow step. I went to the flower bed, stooped over, and started pulling the weeds I’d seen. Justin and I continued talking back and forth. Our dog Mickey was jumping and barking and Justin was giggling. I was enjoying listening to him kick the water and play while I groomed the flower bed. I had only planned to pull three or four weeds but kept plucking one more then another and another. I had a fist full of weeds and was about to stand to go put them in the garbage pail.
Mickey began barking furiously. It hit me like a slap in the face that no sounds of chatter or splashing was coming from the direction of the pool. My heart jumped to my throat as I turned and saw Justin, in the water, just beyond the steps. The water was up to just under his nose. His mouth was under water. He couldn’t call to me. He was struggling to keep his head up and his eyes on me.
I don’t remember standing up. I don’t remember throwing the handful of weeds, I don’t remember thinking of anything except getting to Justin. I flew into the water, fully dressed with muddy hands and all. Justin felt so incredibly good in my arms. He knew he wasn’t supposed to be in the water but more than that he knew he had been in dire trouble. Now, remember hugs from Justin were very rare and far between but he let me hold him close for a long time.
I thought of Sami, the kids swimming teacher, who had described how kids drown and it was exactly like that, up to their eyes in water and never making a sound!
I honestly think Mickey was calling for me to notice one of “his kids” was in trouble.