Summer Pool Rules
When I opened my pool for the very first time a neighbor asked my son if he could come take a swim. Of course was my reply. Let me set it up for you so you can evaluate for yourself:
1. Parents dropped the child off at the house in swim trunks and with a towel (so they knew he was swimming, right?)
2. Parents did not come and meet me or see who would be supervising this activity (that’s 9 feet of water people!)
3. We asked the child, "Can you swim?” And with a huge grin he said, "Yes Ma'am!"
Ten minutes later while chatting on the side of the house my son comes running and screaming, "He's drowning! He's drowning!!" What? What do you mean he is drowning? How could that be?
When I rounded the corner I expected to see a flailing child, splashing and panicked. I did not see anything. At. All. "Where is he?" I said out loud even as my body was responding to the answer that my mind already knew. Lifeless. Underwater. Nine feet. NO. MOVEMENT.
In I went. Strong. Quick. How can a boy of 12 be so heavy? How can this be happening? Please don't let this beautiful boy I don't even know die here on this day. Got him. Now what? Kick. Kick. Push. Up. Air. Nothing.
Stunned, my husband was at the edge and ready. Lifting, pulling. Helping. In the winter boxes of my mind I pulled out what I knew to do: Flip, empty mouth, CPR. Pray. Is it possible to do all of these things at the same time? Yes. I know. I did.
And then, coughing. "What is your name?" I screamed at the top of my lungs and the sound of his voice was like Jesus reaching down and caressing my face. But it wasn't over. Taking him home, offers to the ER being refused, trying to explain that a child can "drown" even hours later to parents that didn't understand.
Hearing the whole story of how my son was nearly was pulled down with him when he first jumped in to save his friend before getting help, and, finally, sobbing in gratitude.
Now I have rules of the pool.
Real Talk Nic’s Pool Rules
1. No swimming alone. Ever.
2. DEMONSTRATED swimming if swimming without flotation devices. (Yes, I will stand and watch).
3. If you have young children, you must be present when your child is swimming. And, um, you must supervise your child.
4. Must be able to explain how to help a swimmer in distress (pool stick, floating device, and NOT by jumping in.)
5. There can be new rules at any time.
6. Adults must comply with all pool rules as well.
Now, I know in my experience there were so many things that I did wrong. And I can share with you that I am one of those people that see certain things on the news and I scream at the TV, ‘Where were the parents?’ And yet, this near-drowning of a child happened to me.
It's nothing better than enjoying a hot summer day chilling by the pool. Chatting with a girlfriend. Soaking up some rays. Rocking to the Fresh Prince singing, Summer Summer Summer Time. And listening to the kids splash and play; but know this; while I may be swaying to the music with a smile on my sunburned face, one ear is always listening fully to what I don't hear. Silence. And that is as real as it gets.
Pay it forward beautiful people, and teach a child to swim. It could save a life.
Nicole Harding is an expert in leadership development, a wife and mother, who is focused on spreading positivity, one conversation, one home project, and one dynamite deal at a time. Follow her on Twitter @RealTalkNic
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