Monday, August 30, 2010

Brave - Part I

During our recent vacation to the shore we dealt with pretty strong rip currents. Never far from my or my husband's minds was the knowledge that last year a 12-year-old boy drowned at the very beach we visit. He was taken by a rip current during our final day of vacation. We were not there but the news rippled through the little vacation community we visit.

We spent the two weeks this summer being extremely vigilant as my 10-year-old sons and 6-year-old daughter became more comfortable throwing themselves into waves and riding boogie boards into the shore. We talked with them about how to get out of a rip current. I never thought to talk through with them how long it would take or how much energy.

Every year as we return home we visit some of my family. On a beautiful sunny day this past weekend, the boys and I joined my cousin and her two oldest sons for a swim across the small bay to a dock and then swim back. My guys are full of energy and can run for hours. They are strong swimmers and I figured it wouldn't be too far for them. I grossly misjudged the distance since it was over one half a mile to the far dock and back. It was fairly easy for one of my guys.

It wasn't easy for the other one.

Before we had crossed over to the far away dock I heard a pretty sickening sound. The sound of someone gulping air, taking in some water then trying to cough it up.

My guy was really struggling.

I talked to him, encouraging him to get to the far dock. Once there he declared he wanted to get out and walk back. The other boys were ready to go back so my cousin swam with them to her dock.

After catching his breath, he agreed to swim back. We swam to the closest dock and I thought that would be our strategy - to go from dock to dock until we return to the original one. But he decided to go straight for it.

I encouraged him to swim on his back and use less energy. He did and stayed in control of his breathing. I told him how great his was doing, how we were getting closer, how he was showing real stamina. And I was thinking this was the best way to show what it takes to get out of a rip tide.

After a while, I waved to my cousin and she swam the last bit to us with a styrofoam noodle. Little man gratefully tucked it under his arms and did the breast stroke back to the dock. Then he pulled himself up the ladder, turned toward the water and jumped right back in.


Goofball said...

yikes that's true parental horror.

I remember once being exhausted as a kid in the middle of the pool. I was truly terrified to go under. It was a public pool and I kind off grabbed the first nearby person who then was rather angry with me. But I had been scared!

Jen said...

Great perseverance for Little Man AND for you.

You also told him about swimming OUT of the current, right? I mean, in terms of riptides, not the dock situation.

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