It only takes a minute.

I wanted to write about something really funny today – there was a cougar sighting in the city! The resulting news stories have been hilarious: cougar spotted, if you should see a cougar you should be cautious and back away slowly. Did the cougar have botox, one might wonder. A fake orange tan? Did the cougar order an appletini and lasciviously ogle the twentysomething bartender?

I wanted to write about this and how I was out for dinner with a dear friend who was visiting from Texas and maybe we were the cause of the sighting? We were drinking martinis, after all.

I’m not in the mood though because I’m still feeling sick from something that happened this afternoon.

I took the boys to meet a group of friends at the outdoor pool today and it was a lovely afternoon, the kids all had fun, the moms had fun. The weather was warm, the water was warm, the kids were happy. My boys, however, are not what one might call strong swimmers. They wear life jackets in the pool at all times. Mark can swim in his life jacket and he likes to swim all over the pool, especially in the deep end.

About fifteen minutes before we were going to leave, Mark was sitting at the picnic table, a towel wrapped around him, having a snack. I had taken his life jacket off of him so he could dry off a bit. Jake was in the shallow end, so I was standing on the deck, watching him. I looked over to check on Mark, and he wasn’t at the picnic table. He was on the ladder, going into the deep end, without his life jacket. I screamed his name and ran down the deck but he had, by the time I got there, hopped off the ladder and was underwater. He was underwater for probably only a couple of seconds but it felt like an hour. I reached in and pulled him out.

“Sorry Mom,“ he said. “I guess I forgot to put my life jacket on.” He went to the picnic table, put it on, and got back into the pool while I stood there, shaking, my heart pounding. A good friend of mine came over to me and stood with me, saying “He’s okay. Look at him. He’s swimming, he’s happy. He’s okay.”

It only takes a minute for something to happen. I close my eyes and I can see his head under the water, his hair floating and spiky, and it only takes a minute.


  1. ACK! So scary. We’ve had a similar heart-stopping moment where our oldest fell out of a floatation toy. I will NEVER forget my helplessness as I sat at the edge of a different pool with an infant in my lap, a toddler on the deck nearby and my hubby swimming laps in the pool that my oldest son was in, not paying attention to him.

    Even now, tears.

    I am glad you got there quick.

    And I really like your cougar story. LOL

  2. Mrs.Mayhem says

    SO scary. You’re right, it only takes a minute for something awful to happen. Thank God you were paying attention.

  3. I’m so glad everything was ok. Good for you for watching your children so well. It’s also nice to know that he still loves to swim.
    And, cougar stories are funny.

  4. It’s my biggest fear. Damn those boys. I am glad to hear he was OK. Now it’s mom’s turn.


  5. YOU my friend were a hero! You reacted with cougar like speed.

  6. But that’s what might have happened if you weren’t doing everything right. But you were. And sometimes it’s good to see something like that, because a lot of people just don’t get how quickly and silently it can happen, and this really brings it home. I had that when Eve was three in the neighbour’s big-but-still-smallish pool — she slipped and fell under the water. She could easily have stood up, but she panicked and just didn’t.

  7. This happened to me earlier this summer – I had to jump in to give Bub a shove back into the shallow end, and then when I got home I read that link that was being passed around this summer about what drowning looks like – it was a word-for-word description of what I saw when I reached Bub upright in the water with his nose bobbing above and then below the water line.

    It took me a long time to get to sleep that night.

  8. I also had a similar experience this summer. My two-year old was under for about 3 seconds, but like you said, it felt like an hour. I shudder to think what could have happened had I not actually been watching him. So scary!

    Thanks for writing.

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