Saved!

The Prompt: Sink or Swim. Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome? For once, I’m going to take the prompt literally.  I wrote about this in January, so I’m going to use a rewrite of the tale I told at that time.

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Saved!

Although I’ve never had a child of my own, I love children; and from a very early age, my eye in any social situation was always drawn to babies. When I was little and my mother would take me along to meetings of her Progressive Study Club, I would always stand in the bedroom to watch the babies spread out on the bed by their mothers, surrounded by their coats.  In a similar fashion, I notice babies in restaurants and on the street––  especially babies who are facing backwards over the shoulders of their parents.  I love seeing what they are looking at––who they are communicating with through their eyes and their smiles.  I love it that babies have a private life even in the company of their parents.

In this modern age of child abductions and pedophiles, parents might find this creepy, no matter how benign one’s motive is in watching their children; but in my case, if they have not forgotten, there are two sets of parents who should feel very grateful for my interest in their children; for although I have never birthed a child, I am responsible for the presence of two children, now grown to adults, who would not be here but for me. In both cases, I saved a baby from drowning.  Both times, although there were other people in the proximity, they were in social situations where no one noticed what was going on as the baby nearly came to harm.

One of the times was at a housewarming party given by my boyfriend’s son in California.  We’d all been given the tour, including the garden and hot tub, which was up on a raised patio out of view of the house.  As we stood in the living room talking and drinking before the meal was served,  I noticed that the toddler of one of the couples was not with his mother. Looking into the other room, I saw he wasn’t with his father, either, and I suddenly had a strong feeling that something was wrong.

I ran out of the house and into the garden just in time to see him at the top of the stairs leading to the hot tub.  He toddled over to the side, fell in and sank like a stone.  I ran up the stairs, jumped into the hot tub and fished him from the bottom before he ever bobbed to the surface.  I remember the entire thing in slow motion and have a very clear memory of the fact that it seemed as though his body had no tendency to float at all, but would have remained at the bottom of the deep hot tub.

The parents’ reaction was shock.  I can’t remember if they left the party or if they really realized how serious it was.  I know they didn’t thank me, which is of no importance other than a measure of either their inability to face the fact that their child had been within seconds of drowning or simply their shock and the fact they were thinking only of their child.

Strangely enough, this had happened before, at a stock pond just outside of the little South Dakota town where I grew up.  Everyone went swimming there, as there was no pool in town.  When I was still in junior high, I’d just arrived when I saw a very tiny girl—really just a baby—fall into the dam (what we called a pond) and sink straight down under the very heavy moss that grew on the top of the water.  Her mother had her back turned, talking to a friend, and no one else noticed.  I jumped in and fished her out, returning her to her mother, who quickly collected her other children and left.  Again, no word of thanks.  It is not that it was required, and I mention it here only because it happened twice and, having not thought about this for so many years, I am wondering if it wasn’t embarrassment and guilt on the part of the parents that made them both react so matter-of-factly.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sink-or-swim/

19 thoughts on “Saved!

  1. animar64

    I would say that the parents were probably in shock- add that to the fact if they had thanked you they would have to acknowledge the fact that their child could have died and some people can’t wrap their minds around that.

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  2. Allenda Moriarty

    It is so hard to comprehend. As a parent in that situation, I think I would have profusely thanked you, and would be thanking you to this day. I’m sure they were in shock, but much less so than if their child had drowned. Blessings and belated thanks to you for being there to save them.

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. hirundine608

    Huh … quite strange? Having been a parent, we may have been a little over-protective? Hard to tell? Certainly, you would have received my thanks at the time. Maybe you have the gift, of prescience? Well done! … Be as a child to enter the kingdom of heaven?

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  4. anndelize

    Sobering how quickly an accident like this can happen. It is frightening. I agree that the parents were probably in shock and later probably wished that they had thanked you afterwards. Those children (now adults) will probably never know that you saved their lives. x

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      The baby/toddler who fell into the dam was one I’d watched at my mother’s club meetings and many years later when I was wondering what had happened to a favorite doll, my mother told me she had given it to that little girl. So, our paths crossed a number of times and I’m sure to this day she doesn’t even know it and I believe her entire family has probably passed on. They moved at some future date and I can’t even remember their names, although I do remember the house they lived in. It was a basement house across from the court house on the south edge of main street. I don’t think they ever built a house over it and I think it is now an empty lot. Every bit of evidence erased!

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  5. calensariel

    I can’t imagine NOT saying thank you to someone who had just saved my child’s life. One of my homies does daycare and on two different occasions found a napping baby not breathing. One of them was HERS! She saved both and I know first hand how grateful the mother of that baby was to Linda. It just seems to me I couldn’t say thank you enough. But well done, Judy!

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  6. Still the Lucky Few

    I agree with animar64 that the parents in question were probably in shock. I think it takes some reflection, also, to comprehend how dreadful the incidences really were. But still, it would have been wonderful to be thanked!

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  7. Leland Olson Hoel

    Thanks for sharing that, no doubt the parents were in shock about the whole situation and wanted to leave the scene rapidly. I would also think, in the immediate days following the incident either one of the parents could have contacted you and told you how happy they were, because you were on the spot to be lifeguard for the day.

    There weren’t many live stock ponds or dams built yet when I was a youngster here in South Dakota. Stock ponds were always strictly off limits for swimming because they usually had clay along the sides, making them super slippery for anyone. You could slide right down to the bottom.

    On our farm there was no dam, kids being kids we went in the tank by the windmill which was strictly off-limits. One hot summer day we walked into the house, our cloths must have been a little damp yet. My mother asked, “you boys been in the stock tank?” “OH NO” Why does Harlan have moss in his hair?
    That was a bad day for our little rear ends.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      My mother told of soaking in the stock tank with my grandmother who was wearing a black wool swimsuit that covered her entire body. She said she had a red rash from neck to ankle from the scratcy hot wool!!!

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