Tuesday, 31 August 2010
A minute that nearly changed my life forever
Two adults, seven kids, six and under. Water without a fence. You could ask, what were we thinking?
As soon as we did the short walk from K's house to the beach, the three older boys, including Nugget and Doo Dah, went racing for the sand. Their shoes were off in a jiffy, and they were dipping their toes in the icy water. Chasing the waves up and down the shoreline.
K and I, and the four little ones, set up a picnic at the top of the sand (not more than 20 metres from where the boys were playing). We were chatting and keeping an eye on all seven of the kids as we unpacked some handmade biscuits and had a drink.
It was another beautiful day in our gorgeous city. We breathed in the air and lapped up the sunshine and sat contently in each other's company, talking each other's ears off.
I commented to K that the boys were starting to get a bit wet and perhaps we should take off their long pants. So we did and then we went back to the picnic rug with the toddlers and they returned to playing at the water's edge.
I commented to K that Doo Dah was always going into the water a little deeper than the other two boys. I called out to him and he stepped back a bit.
K commented to me that the waves were 'big' and we noted they were coming in thick and fast.
K commented to me that one of the surfer's had caught a 'huge' one. We both looked at the three boys and in that split second we realised that Doo Dah was out deeper again and that the 'huge' wave was moments from reaching him. Neither K nor I spoke, but we were both on our feet and into the water within seconds (me still in my shoes and jeans).
The wave had knocked Doo Dah to the ground and he was dumped and had rolled at least 3 times before either K or I could reach him. We dragged him to his feet.
He was shaken and covered in sand.
He smiled at me and then cried as I whisked him from the water and up to the picnic area (where the three toddlers were all sitting, playing in the sand, eating yet another biscuit while the baby slept on in the pram).
We comforted Doo Dah, then got him changed and sent him back out. He was much more cautious (sensible in fact compared to the reckless behaviour before the incident), but he enjoyed the rest of the morning at the beach. We all did.
I had a niggly feeling the rest of the day. What if we hadn't seen it coming? What if we'd been a little late?
I know in my heart I would never be 'not watching', but these little happenings are a good reminder of how quickly things can change. How a tragedy can occur at any time. How important it is to be mindful and alert.
Doo Dah told the story to his Dad when he returned from work. He said something along the lines of "A great big wave came and knocked me over and I did the best rolling in the sand, didn't I Mum?".
I'm glad the incident hasn't scared him off the beach for life.
Do you remember being 'dumped' at the beach as a kid?