Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Lesson in Courage


This past week-end we had the pleasure of being invited up to a friend's cottage on the lake with another family for the second year in a row.  That is, if you consider a 6000 square foot building fit with 4 bedrooms and a separate 2 bedroom bunky a cottage.

During our fabulous stay which included jumping on a water trampoline, going for power boat rides, dune buggy riding and hanging out sipping wine as they cooked gourmet meals for us, we also went tubing.

Well, I went tubing.

The suggestion was also to go with my 3 year old son.

The thought at first made me tremendously nervous.  Not because I don't like water - I love it and am quite adept at swimming.  However, neither of my boys are what one would consider water babies.  They will play and splash around in shallow water but any droplet of water that may even threaten to go near the face is cause for some serious hysterics.

I can't even wash their hair without high pitched screams and insane dramatics.

Which is why their hair gets washed a mere once or twice a week.

I don't know where this anxiety grew from as they've been exposed to pools and lakes since they were about 6 months old.

And as a matter of fact don't they spend the first 9 +  months of their lives living, breathing and eating in water!!??

In any case it's a real fear and it cannot be ignored.

It had been a long time since I'd been tubing and water skiing.  And although water skiing was out of the question due to a bad fall many years ago which resulted in my ass feeling like it was split in two, tubing it was.

Of-course as soon as Adrian knew Mommy was going to have some fun he had to join in.

On he jumped, and off we went.....slllloooowwwlllly.

Now, this 'tube' was not a tube exactly.  It was more of a flat flotation device with handles where you lie on your stomach while gripping the handles with fierce instensity.  There were 6 handles in total and I was situated in the middle with my left arm over my son's back holding onto the same handle as he was.

After a few minutes of going at a sloth-like pace and asking Adrian if it was okay to go a little faster I motioned towards the boat a thumbs up.

The boat sped up but for some reason instead of the tube rising out of the water as it well should, it started to sink, water gushing up over the tube and....


......we went under......

As soon as I saw Adrian's head completely submerge into the water, the panic that engulfed me was like nothing else I've ever felt before.

And the fact that I could do nothing to prevent his biggest fear from happening was a sickening feeling.

As quick as that feeling of helplessness whipped through my body, my head went under too.

I became tangled and disoriented, my only thought was to get above the water to ensure my son was okay.

It was only a matter of mere seconds, but it felt like minutes.

Up I came and there he was.

Very wet, very safe and very terrified.

Not only was his face totally emerged in lake water but now he was in the middle of this awful lake with nothing to hold onto....but me.

I found something out about myself.

I'm pretty good at treading water whilst holding a 42 lb screaming child.

The boat came around and we were pulled to safety.

I should have slapped away the thought before the words were formed and came tumbling out, "There is no way he's going to want to get back on that tube."

Because you know what?

He did.  (never, ever underestimate your child!)

There were two reasons why the tube went under.  It didn't have enough air and I was lying too far forward.

After the tube was properly inflated and an amazing pep talk from his dad with words of encouragement from everyone else he got back on that tube.  It wasn't without some fear and a few tears but he did it.

My heart was so swollen with pride that my throat felt thick and my eyes welled with tears.

The rest of the tube ride was without incident and though he was tired, claiming near the end he "needed a nap" he rode it to the very end.

I hope Adrian reads this story one day and I hope he always remembers it when life throws pitfalls, challenges and heartbreak in his direction.

You are so, so brave my son.

Remember that.

Today you taught me a lesson.

In courage.

And because of you, next year I will attempt water skiing.

Once again.

Just before we went under.
It's quite apparent I'm clueless as to what's about to happen.
Adrian, on the other hand is not.

After the incident.
Me and my brave boy.


Kristin said...

Such a great story. Got a little teary just reading it. : )

Shell said...

That is awesome that he wanted to go back on. Children and their bravery astonish me.

Di said...

Stopping by from PYHO - so great that he tried again. We can learn so much from our kids!