Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A minute that nearly changed my life forever

The kids and I went to the beach on Saturday with a dear friend, K, and her three kids.

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 coughed.

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?

14 comments:

Rachel said...

I dont remember being dumped but I do remember watching my brother get dumped.... he was around 5 and it was scary ..... glad it didnt scare Doo Dah to much .... and Im glad your survive it to.....

Andrea said...

Oh my gosh! That brought tears to my eyes. My stomach even hurts a little. As soon as I read your post header and saw the picture it gave me the chills. So glad Doo Dah is alright and you didn't freak out. The water has always scared me a little bit. There was one time I was at the beach with my siblings and we were playing a game to see who could go the furthest. I stepped into a hole and went under. I have never been a great swimmer....doggy paddle is about all I do. It scared me pretty good.

Maxabella said...

It's more like 'the second that nearly changed my life'... 'it' happens in an instant. You can't live in fear of instants, though. You would go mad. You have to trust that you watch enough. You also have to let Doo Dah know that if he continues to go in too deep he won't be going in at all. One reminder and if you go in too far again, you're on the sand buddy. No negotiations. You listen to mummy or you sit beside mummy. The choice is yours.

Catherine F. said...

Scary hey! Dumped heaps of times - don't like the bigger waves at all! I had an 'instant' moment with #2 when she was 20 months. We'd been in the spa at my sisters and got out with the 3 children who were with us. The cover was left off as brother-in-law was going to get in. We went inside and bathed kids and got them changed. Was drying #1's hair when instinct kicked in - #2 had got into spa clothed and was holding onto the side wall saying "hole wall", which is "hold the wall" which is what they were taught in swimming lessons if they fell in the water. Thank you swimming lessons! Stuff happens so quickly though hey .....

x0xJ said...

Oh gosh how scary! I cannot swim...so i get dumped OFTEN at the beach with my lack of...balance, lol.

Shauna said...

My kids have been scaring the crap out of me all their lives. Coo, Val used to take Ben and i to the surf beach at Culburra and just let us go for it. We were so little and she couldnt swim but she didnt want us to be scared of the water the way she was. How on earth we didn't drown is beyond me. So yes, i remember getting dumped at the beach. Massive big surf waves and I always knew to just curl into a ball and dont fight it. We lived. Kinda

Kelly said...

Oh my what a scary moment, I'm so glad everything was ok with Doo Dah. I'm not much of a swimmer myself my ideal beach trip is to walk along the edge where the waves crash and not to get wet.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Chris, how scary! I was holding my breath watching even though I had seen you and three kids in tow today... Makes you think twice about water and water safety!
And yes, I do remember getting dumped as a child, many times. It's horrible!

Kylez..aka...Mrs.P! said...

I totally remember being dumped, and it wasn't a nice feeling that's for sure!

That's the thing I'm really not looking forward to about having kids. I tend to be a bit of a worrier, say if hubby is even slightly late I start to think the worst. So I can't imagine what I'll be like when we have kids!

I remember when I was about 11 and one of my little sisters was about 3 I think. I walked into the dining room and saw her sitting on the window sill, leaning against the fly-screen. As I walked toward her she laughed and leant right back and at that moment the screen gave way and she started to fall back. All I remember is screaming her name and grabbing her shirt and yanking her back in the window. I have no idea how I got to her in time. My mum's house is on a hill and the house is split-level, so had she fallen, she would have hit the concrete from about 4 or 5 metres up, head-first. She had no idea what had almost happened, wasn't fazed, but I cried on Mum's shoulder for about half an hour afterwards in shock at the fact she could have died.

She did learn a lesson though and didn't do it again, so hopefully Doo Dah will remember getting dumped next time your at the beach.

Ellie Tat said...

I had a scary moment like this when my 3-year-old decided to show me that he could swim and jumped into the swimming pool. Well, he couldn't really swim. I was lucky he jumped close to the edge and I could just reach and pull him out. I had my baby in a baby-bjorn and getting into the pool would have been much more complicated. I'm glad everything turned out fine for you

The Planet Pink said...

So so frightening! Water is one of my biggest fears when it comes to my kids. I try so hard to not project my fears onto them, but it's difficult. I'm so glad your story had a happy ending! And thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm now following!

life in a pink fibro said...

I've eaten sand once or twice. Horrible. I'm glad all is well. Waves and kids can be such a scary combo, but once they master them, so much fun! I'm glad DooDah is not put off. Little Nippers for him, maybe?

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Wow...I'm so very glad this was just a scare. I've had a couple of really scary instances with the girls over the past 15 or so months. Although we can't live in fear of "instants", as maxabella said, those experiences definitely snapped me back to a greater reality. ((shudder))

Rebecca said...

Such a scary moment! As much as I love the beach, it scares the crap out of me to have my kids in that water. I don't know why...they just seem so much smaller than the ocean is! That makes sense! You're a good Mom...that's why you saw it coming. I, too, and glad it didn't make him afraid of the water...that's even harder to come back from.

I'm pretty sure the first time I got "dumped" was when I stood up (just being happy to be breathing) and my bikini top was around my waist. My sister was dying laughing on the beach...she got a hell of a sunburn that day, so karma got her!

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