A heat wave stopped by our little part of the world and decided to settle in for a few days. We did the only thing we know to do when it gets hot here (and it can get very hot), we fled to a nearby body of water to cool down. It was Wednesday morning and the beach was almost vacant outside of a small gathering of women and another mother with three very small children that had settles some distance down the beach from us.
Kaylee and I were walking up and down the beach picking up various seashells and plunking them into her sand bucket. On occasion we would find a real treasure, a crab claw or some fishing weights, which would elicit squeals and shouts from Kaylee. As we walked along the beach, the blazing sun felt as if it were out to set our backs afire, forcing us to venture just a bit deeper into the water. The chill of the water was a harsh reminder that it is still only Spring and we would run back ashore, legs tingling from the cold!
Kaylee and I were discussing moving to another location as we had exhausted the seashells from our current spot when I heard frantic calls from the group of women next to us. It took me a second to make out the words ringing through the air, "Baby in the water!" My eyes scanned the beach to see the small children who had been playing further down the beach from us were all near the waterline. My eyes fell upon a the smallest child, who couldn't have been older than 2, face down in the water. The baby got her footing only to trip and leap forward deeper into the water. This time she was far too deep to get her footing and couldn't get back up. The other small children, barely older than their baby sister were standing watching, unable to help. I scanned for the mother, but didn't see her.
"Don't move!" I shouted to Kaylee and I took off down the beach towards the baby. My mind raced frantically as I quickly tried to calculate how long it would take me to run to the baby and get her out of the water. My damaged lungs don't allow my legs to move as fast as they would have liked and I knew deep down that it would take me far too long to reach the baby. I ran anyway, as quickly as I could. Suddenly, I saw the mother barrel into the lake and snatch her youngest child out of the water.
I stopped running, but the adrenalin coursed through my body leaving me shaking. I turned back to my own child standing on the beach looking on with wide eyes. I ran back to her and held her tight, tears pricking at my eyes. How very precious and fragile life is and how quickly it can be pulled out from under us. Hug those you love just a little bit tighter and please be so very vigilant this summer when you go swimming with loved ones no matter their age!