Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Salvation of the Family Tree

On Saturday, one of Natalie’s friends had a birthday party at her house. It was a pool party, which pretty much guarantees that the kids will go crazy if they don’t go swimming for most of the afternoon… and that guarantees that I’ll be the life guard. I’m okay with it. I knew a total of three people at the party, and most of the rest that attended were all related to each other. At least I had a job to do.

However, I didn’t realize I would have to work so much. I thought I would merely sit at the edge of the pool, dangling my feet in the water and watching the kids while Kara kept me supplied with Diet Cokes, hamburgers and hot dogs (though watching a bunch of four- and five-year olds makes me wish for something much stronger than soda).

We had barely arrived and greeted the birthday girl and her mother, when out of the corner of my eye, a little girl was struggling to keep her head above water in the spa attached to the pool. She apparently got stuck in the middle where she couldn’t touch the bottom and couldn’t figure out how to maneuver herself to the sides. All of us noticed it pretty much at the same time, about five of us adults standing next to the pool talking, and I was about a half-second away from springing into action when one of the other mothers grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to safety.

There, I thought to myself, that’s the close call of the day. There’s always one at every pool party, inevitably some kid slips into the deep end or thinks he can swim the pool’s length without stopping. The adult contingency screws itself up into a turmoil at the excitement and everyone shares a nervous “she’s okay, but its funny now that she almost died from drowning” laugh and the party goes on.

There were about a half-dozen girls in the shallow edge of the pool… and Matthew, the boy. He was just happy to be there, climbing up the step, jumping into the pool with a terrifically satisfying splash and a demonic chortle. The girls didn’t pay much attention to Matthew, and I got the feeling that he didn’t care, telling random things to random girls while they all played nonsensical games.

And I sat there, making sure none of them went past me and off a ledge into the deep end. The pool is designed so that the shallow end is rather a shelf, a two-feet-deep flat area, and over the edge, it sharply drops to the standard eight-foot deep end. It was my job that nobody got by me. It turned out that the shallow end was enough to keep Matthew in trouble for most of the afternoon.

He would jump off of the step into the water and end up in a sitting position after his feet would slip out from under him. And the he would get stuck there, unable to get his feet back under him so he could stand up again. He did that five or six times, and each time, I had to jump in there and rescue him.

It is amazing how many times he would have drown if I wasn’t there. Well, I guess it would have been just the one time, but you know what I mean.

So, swim lessons for the kids this summer, for sure.

No comments:


web site tracking
Sierra Trading Post