Having a large family can be challenging. Because of the many comings and goings, some things just have to give. My last five children were born in eight years, so these children are very close in age. In my younger years, with one or two children, I would take them swimming, almost every day. But with 5, 6, 7, and finally 8 children, going to the pool actually became a dangerous activity. I had to be on guard constantly; I was always counting heads, and it was very stressful for me–so the trips to the pool became much less frequent. Though swim lessons help, we all know that children learn to swim best–simply by being in the water…..a lot. Needless to say, my two youngest were not very confident in the water.
My brother and his family live about 4 hours away from us, and we had decided to go visit him. We loaded up all the kids (and that is an ordeal in and of itself), packed up our 12 passenger van with duffel bags, backpacks, 14 pillows, 9 blankets, snacks to last 3 weeks, 10 water bottles pre-labeled with everyone’s names in black marker, and a tv/vcr combo sitting on top of two milk crates (stabilized with bungee cords)–plugged into the cigarette lighter! I always envied those SUV’s with the built-in tvs!!! Anyway! We arrived at my brother’s home, and the FIRST thing the kids ask is, “Can we go swimming???”
We unloaded the car, found swimsuits, and headed out to the pool. My husband and brother had gone out to the garage to talk motorcycles. My nieces and some neighbors were already swimming, so I sat down on a lawn chair at the edge of the pool. It was a beautiful day. Kids were jumping off the rocks into the pool, running back and forth from the pool to the hot tub, diving after toys, splashing and having fun. My main focus was my baby, who was 2 at the time. Ammon had just turned 5. I was trying to keep an eye on all the kids while catching up with my nieces when my attention was drawn to the deep end of the pool. The scene made my heart stop! There was my Ammon, face up, under water, not moving.
I quickly handed my baby to my older daughter, and jumped in. I yelled to someone to call 911. I dragged this lifeless boy to the edge of the pool, and handed him to my nieces, who pulled him out, and laid him down. I must have been in shock because I jumped out of the water, knelt over this boy, and froze. All my CPR training was out the window. My 15 year-old daughter said nothing, but intuitively started chest compressions. Seeing her acting as the adult snapped me back to myself–my duty–my stewardship; so I moved her hands, and took over the chest compressions. The tears began to flow, and I gathered enough strength to cry out my son’s name. I called to him, but no answer. I held his precious face, as tears fell upon it, and begged him to come back. More chest compressions. And finally after what seemed like forever, he took a breath on his own. His eyes slowly opened, and I scooped him up. I took him to a chair, wrapped him in a big towel, and never wanted to let him go.
Just then, the paramedics arrived. After checking Ammon, we were told that we were lucky. They often arrive on scenes, where a child has fallen into a pool, and has brain damage or is dead. I don’t like the word lucky. I feel very strongly that Ammon was protected that day. I believe there were angels present, and that God had more for Ammon to do. I believe that there were lessons that day for me, and all who were present. I believe in miracles….I see them every day. I have chosen to come away from this experience–changed. I don’t think that I could appreciate Ammon the way that I do if I hadn’t come so close to losing him. You see, you NEVER know…..do you….how long we have with our loved ones.