Many years ago, when my nephew was 5, we were at my mom’s for a fun filled vacation weekend. Dillon was swimming in my mom’s pool. She had an older pool and the slope from shallow end to deep end was pretty severe.
I was working on a knitting project so I did not have my eyes on him 100% of the time. Instead I listened to him. He was a happy boy and was talking to himself the whole time he was swimming. Such a joy to listen to.
We were out there quite a long time and then I realized...it was quiet. I looked up from my knitting and saw him bob to the surface up to his chin….go down….bob to his lower lip….go down…bob to his eyes (all of this took about 5 seconds). I realized that he had hit the slope and was headed toward the deep end…without crying out for help.
And he was on the verge of drowning.
Giving no thought to my phone (in my pocket) or my fancy watch…I jumped in, grabbed him, and set him on the side of the pool. He did a few sputters and was fine. Scared but fine.
Such a happy ending that could have ended in tragedy. (And every time we see each other we talk about the time ‘Aunt Janie saved his life.’)
Today, for some reason, I thought of that moment in the pool. He knew that the slope was there. He knew he needed to stay away from it. He knew that he could not swim….but he ended up there anyway. How could that even happen? What happened to all of the warnings and the knowledge? Did he forget? Did he not believe us?
I realized that even though he had all of the head knowledge – he had no concept of what that really meant – because it had never happened to him before. Plus, he was just a happy kid, bobbing up and down in the water.
He really had NO idea what was ahead. He had NO idea that he was headed down a slippery slope (in his case a literal one) that could end his life. He had NO idea that he needed to call for help. He just bobbed up and down and up and down. Clueless – right?