With a slightly peeling nose, red shorts and aviator sunglasses, my sixteen-year-old son Dylan looks every inch the lifeguard he is, and a few days ago, he made his first, dramatic rescue --in the baby pool.
The water in the round, two-foot pool was rough that day as the toddlers splashed and created a whirling vortex by joining forces and walking round-and-round in the same direction. Tobias a good-natured little kid with curly red hair and cherubic blue eyes had abandoned the kickboard he usually carries and was trailing a small boat beside him as he circled. He walked faster and faster, zooming the boat through the chop with one chubby hand. As his sturdy little legs navigated the growing current he began to lose his balance. The toddler windmilled his arms, which lifted his feet off the bottom and tipped him forward face down into the water -where he stayed. Since Tobias is a regular, all the lifeguards know he hates to get his face wet (hence the constant kickboard) -but the more he windmilled the more horizontal he got.
Dylan hopped into the pool in water up to his knees, righted Tobias and set him on the side to catch his breath. "Mom," he told me, "if he just would have put his legs down and stood up he would have been fine. He could stand." The problem is, in the excitement and rush of the current, he forgot. Wow. How many times has that happened to me?
It struck me that sometimes we grown ups might forget to "stand" when things start going sideways in our own lives; when the current of whatever we are caught up in gets the best of us and fear takes over -when, maybe it's not as deep as we think.
For me, it's usually my friends, my family and my faith (not necessarily in that order) who come to the rescue, lift me up and set me straight. I am grateful for the lifeguards who watch over me and give me the strength and the confidence to wade back in and try again.
After a brief interlude poolside, Tobias bravely got back into the water and resumed boating. I like to think I would do the same. The sun was shining, the lifeguard was on duty and all was right with the world.
Good luck today, be safe out there, and remember not to run on the pool deck. I hear the lifeguard is a real stickler...