My aunt and uncle were passing through St. Louis on their way to Decatur and were staying at a local hotel that had a pool. They invited us over so Christopher and his cousin could splash and play for a few hours. Little did I know that I would end the afternoon with a massive headache and lots of alcohol.
It was a great set up (or so I thought). There was a very large baby pool, no more than a foot deep, with a mushroom waterfall. For the parents and big kids, there was a bar with loud party music and a big pool. The bad part of the design was a three foot opening between the kiddie pool and the adult pool. I guess it was there to allow people to pass between the two pools if they wanted.
Christopher was playing in the pool for about thirty minutes with his cousin. They were having fun (although Christopher has had a fear of water for sometime and doesn't like his face to get wet). So while his cousin splashed and waded, Christopher just walked around tossing pool toys.
I guess he noticed some kids playing in the big pool and started to walk towards them to investigate. I saw him moving towards the gap and got up with Carter in my arms and started calling his name. My cousin, Robin, saw him as well and began shouting "Christopher!" as well. No reaction. He obviously couldn't hear us due to the giant waterfall next to him combined with the loud music. We both started to move around the edge of the pool a little faster hoping to gain his visual attention.
By the time we were directly to his left, Robin began to call my uncle's name - who was playing in the big pool with his son. I continued to yell for Christopher and at the moment he heard me calling it was to late.
Christopher turned towards me to see what I wanted and took the final step that sent him over the step, straight to the bottom.
My uncle had turned around to look at us at this point, but Christopher was no longer visible, he had no idea what we were yelling about.
Robin jumped in the pool as soon as Christopher went under. I turned around and put Carter on a beach chair and jumped in as fast as I could.
Robin pulled Christopher up from the bottom and handed him to me.
He was coughing and choking up water. I finally breathed.
I brought Christopher over to the edge of the pool where my aunt was standing and she pulled him to the concrete. I lifted myself out of the water as well and picked up my son once again and hugged him.
All-in-all Christopher was fine. Maybe a little scared. He was back in the water (baby side) 15 minutes later. I was probably more shaken up than he was. Literally. I was shivering or shaking for a good hour and my heart was pounding for most of it. I think my adrenaline had kicked in and now I was out of energy.
Poor Carter too. When I had set him down on the beach chair, facing up at the hot, beating sun. I'm sure his hat was knocked off and he was shocked with bright sunshine in his eyes. A stander by picked him up during all the commotion and got him settled down before I found my way over to him again. Looking back, it was probably the stupidest thing I could have done - he could have rolled right off the chair onto the concrete patio. But he didn't, he was fine.
Needless to say, I had a few strawberry daiquiris after the event. The alcohol combined with the major adrenaline rush gave me a large headache for the rest of the night.
My other major headache was with my iPhone. Yessir. It was in my pocket when I jumped in the water. Dead. Dead. Dead. It wasn't coming back to life and I knew there was no hope. Later that evening I went to the Apple store and they replaced my phone completely free of charge. I freaking love that company.
It was an eventful day that will probably stay with me the rest of my life. Christopher later told me that he called my name for help when he was underwater but I couldn't hear him. I hadn't cried over the incident until he said this to me. I don't know why, but it shook me to my core. I sobbed for a good five minutes and hugged my son.
Both of my sons could have been extremely hurt during this. To be honest, I could have lost them both over my actions, or actions I didn't do. But I have learned from these mistakes and it is something that has made me a better parent. Hopefully I don't take my over-protective motherly instinct another step further, but I at least know what to look out for in the future.
I also know to get my oldest son swimming lessons ASAP.
After this post I won't dwell on what "might have been," but on the fact that both my sons are laughing and playing as they should be. My sons are safe. That's all I can ask for.