So… Our window overlooks the pool and since it has opened, neighborhood kids from all over come in with their adults. One of the most important skills for Leonardo Davis to learn is swimming.
When I look down and see nine kids jumping into the shallow end and holding on to the edge of the pool mostly unable to swim… It makes me nervous to say the least. When I see the adults on the other side of the pool area sunbathing, talking distractedly, etc…it makes me nervous.
We went to the pool today with Leonardo. Leo loves the water and as we tow him through the water, he tries to lick the surface of the water or sometimes dunk his face… I feel he trusts us implicitly and has no idea about the dangers of breathing in water. He loves the water.
Today we saw a little girl probably less than three walking around the pool with no water wings, but a really cute swimsuit. A few times, her adult invited her to jump into the pool. The adult would catch her and carry her around the pool.
As we played with #LeonardoDavis, Alma looked over and said something like ” that baby is going to jump in”. She did.
Behind her was a little girl about 7? Maybe 10?
Their adult was outside the pool
on the other side of the pool,
I looked and I saw the baby go in. All the faith in the world that someone would catch her. As I dove forward, I saw her go under, her little pink bathing suit and her little head. I heard the girl behind her shout to the adult, “she’s drowning!”
I have never swam that hard. I opened my eyes in the chlorinated water and saw the little body, blurry little legs flailing below a pretty pink swim suit.
I saw one arm sticking straight up as the little girl on the edge of the pool tried to rescue the smaller one. Her head was still under water.
I have never swam that hard, but it was the longest 15 feet I ever swam. I thought about all my CPR and first aid training. I thought about my cousin Charlie Heastie. I thought about Leonardo. I thought about the guy that drowned on Jaws beach during my birthday party. I thought about jumping into the blue hole on Andros to save someone I had no idea would be working with me the next year. I thought about what would happen if I did not make it in time. I thought about my CPR and first aid training.
I am writing this because I have not been that afraid in a long time, and that was not even my kid. I am writing because there is someone out there who will read this and may keep a better eye on their children. I am writing because, I do not want to see another tragedy on my Facebook timeline, but I am writing because I need to get it out.
I made it. I caught the child. I scooped her up into my arms and stood up. She was amazingly light in the water and there was no struggle. Simply, a scream for her mommy. Mommy…still on the other side of the pool.
The little girl coughs… I ask her “you want to go to your mommy?” Smiling past my heart still caught in my throat. Using about ninety percent of my energy to keep my voice steady…she was so light it took nearly no effort to walk her over to her mom, still on the other side of the pool.
Teach your kids to swim. Watch them near water. Learn to swim yourself. Learn child and adult CPR.
Ancilleno Davis, PhD. Candidate
Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology- Miami University, Oxford Ohio