Those Parents

“We’re not those parents…”

So said a friend as she stood outside her house one mid-summer Thursday afternoon.  I wasn’t there to hear her say it though. I was in the ambulance that had just whirred away from her neighborhood, speeding out of the desert with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

My son–my precious baby boy–was in that ambulance too.  He was breathing by that time. But he wasn’t quite right.  He was barely responsive.  Far from the vivacious little monster he had been only an hour before.

One hour.

An hour before we’d been playing and splashing in the pool.  My friend and I sat at the edge of her pool, our legs dangling in the water. Four of the six kids in the pool were proficient swimmers.  And then there were Cassidy and Jayce–neither of whom can swim without some sort of assistance.

My attention–though divided many ways–was aimed mostly at them.

Cassidy wore her arm floaties, and turned circles in the water as though Michael Phelps himself was no better than she.  Jayce stayed close at my side, shooting the other kids with streams from a water gun he’d adopted for the afternoon.  He waded from one end of the shallow lagoon to the other, back and forth, taking aim, over and over.

As we splashed in the water that day not a single sip of alcohol was ingested.  Not one split-second passed when either my friend or myself were not physically in the pool with our collective children.  Because we aren’t those parents.

But in the end, my physicality alone wasn’t enough.

I scanned the bobbing heads once more–as I’d been doing all afternoon–accounting for my four.  But this time I came up one short.

Until I saw a dark mass submerged to my left.  Not across the pool, but right next to me.  Three feet from where I sat.

Words can’t possibly convey the image of him there.  An image that I would pay countless dollars to have permanently deleted from memory.  An image that is burned into my mind’s eye.  An image that haunts me at night, and threatens to pounce even in the light of day, the instant I let my guard down.

While that image is truly horrific, worse still are the torturous thoughts of what he must have gone through in the seconds that led up to it.

Whether it’s a blessing or a curse that I don’t have those images available I’ll never know.

I suppose that when you get right down to it my memory is well supplied with a brutal arsenal with which to assault: the feel of his limp body against mine as I pulled him from the water, the sight of his blue lips as I placed him on the grass, the agonizing hours–or minutes or seconds, it’s hard to be sure–it took for him to finally respond to my demands that he breathe.

And then there was the blur of activity around me.  The fearful, wide-eyed children hovering nearby.  The sight of my friend, trying to answer questions for the 911 dispatcher on the phone.  A random neighbor, having come to help.  The shrill sound of my middle daughter, screaming her brother’s name with more desperation in her voice than I’ve ever heard from anyone else in all my years.

It was through the grace of God that Jayce finally responded.  It couldn’t have had anything to do with my worthless attempts–my misguided efforts to save him.

The sound of his exhausted moans were the sweetest music I’d ever heard.  And when–seconds later–he opened his eyes my heart pounded against my chest.  By the time he threw up, the crowd of miniature onlookers had been herded into the house.  Otherwise how crazy they would have thought I was for heralding it the way I did.

The next thirty minutes were joyous and overwhelming and terrifying and confusing at once.  There must have been ten paramedics.  Four emergency vehicles.  More beeping machines and heavy medical equipment than I ever care to see again.

I held him in my arms, cursing my own stupidity and praising his courage without taking a breath in between.  The decision to transport him to the hospital was not mine to make, though I wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment had it been.

My friend assured me that everything was going to be fine.  She thought when I couldn’t: repeating Jayce’s birthday and the spelling of his name every time they asked, calling Jeff at work to tell him what had happened, fishing the keys from my purse so she could drive the girls home and stay with them, fumbling through my wallet for my driver’s license when the officer needed it. She freed me to focus on the only thing I could have anyway: the boy I’d come so close to losing.

It wasn’t until we sped away in the ambulance, as Jayce lie there with an oxygen mask over his sweet little face, that I was struck with panic.  Would he have brain damage?  Might he regress at any moment?  Was he out of the woods?  My prayers went up steadfastly; my tears came in earnest.  In the thirty minutes it took to get to the hospital, my amazing little man made a full recovery.

Blessed indeed.

It may have been about that time that my friend stood amongst her neighbors, puzzling at how it could have happened.  We aren’t–after all–those parents.

But in my life I’ve learned that while most bad things happen to someone else…every once in awhile they happen to a neighbor.  To someone I knew in high school.  To a guy Jeff works with.  Or maybe to you.  Even to me.

Not because I don’t love my children with everything in me.  Not because I stole a candy bar when I was six.  Not because I honked at the slow car ahead of me not realizing it was an elderly woman at the wheel.

No.

Sometimes bad things just happen.  To good people.  To good parents even.

I certainly don’t do everything right. Every once in awhile I may look the other way when the TV has been on too long.  Or I forget the multi-vitamin.  I send my kids to school without every last one of the supplies on the back-to-school list.   I allow soda when we go to restaurants.  Once or twice I may even have said “hit her back” when one of my girls tattles on another.

And I looked away for a moment too long in the pool.

But (and believe me when I tell you that I am filled with doubt as I force these words through my fingertips onto this keyboard, and eventually the screen), I am a good parent.  I am.

I know that the very presence of my son is a gift that surpasses understanding.  Hearing his tiny words, the touch of his padded fingertips, the rise and fall of his itty bitty chest, his wet kisses–all are blessings for which I couldn’t possibly be more thankful.

So while every instinct within me demands that I punish myself, that I wallow in guilt for having abandoned him when he needed me most–I’m choosing another way.

This gift that God gave me last Thursday afternoon–this second chance–is not something I want to thumb my nose at.  It’s true that allowing myself to smile at this point goes against my human sense of justice.   What gives me the right to feel anything but gut-wrenching guilt after my failures permitted something so heinously unconscionable to occur.

What gives me the right?

There is but one thing that gives me that right: the grace and mercy of the Lord.   It is because of Him–and through only Him.

Because of Him, I will do my best not to let this experience overtake me.  Nor will I allow Jayce’s experience to be in vain.

So many of you have asked how you can help.  Most of us are separated by vast miles but there truly is something you can do for me in spite of the distance.

You can help me to become whole again.

How?  Easy.   Do something.  Anything.  Take a CPR class (as I fully intend to do).  Buy a life jacket and donate it to the neighborhood pool.  Promise that no matter how late you’re running you’ll turn around and grab that second set of water wings.  But most of all, watch.  Watch vigilantly.  Because being there isn’t enough.  Pledge to stop momentarily on your way to the water and consider our story, so that you, too, can grasp that what they say is true: it can happen to you.  It only takes a second.

And a second was all it took.

Please just do something.

So that I can believe that our story has helped to keep another child safe this summer.

That’s what you can do for me.  Thank you.

106 thoughts on “Those Parents”

  1. Darcie,

    I have tears reading your story. I am so thankful that your son is alright. You ARE a WONDERFUL Mom, writing these words is another sign of it.

    We have just signed Boo up for swim lessons, and this makes me even more glad of it.

  2. Oh wow, Darcie…

    You hit it right on the head. It’s only through the grace of God and His love that you will become whole again and that your son was saved.

    I truly believe that ALL things happen for a reason, and if your story will change the heart and mind of even one person out there and save another child, then there’s the reason.

    And don’t EVER forget that you are a wonderful mama. You are raising your children with values, integrity, and God-fearing beliefs, which is a step ahead of many. You love them fiercely and continually provide. God didn’t give you those gifts for nothing…he knows you are the best mother for them.

    Keep your chin up! :)

  3. Darcie,

    I have been praying for you all week. I just knew that you were struggling with all this. Mostly because I understand a little of what you went through. When The Girl was three years old she nearly drowned in a pool when I was within a foot and a half of her (I had turned my back very briefly). Luckily, someone else in the pool saw her struggling behind me and swam over to get her before things were critical. I didn’t hear her splashing, nor did I hear the man yelling my name from the other side of the pool, or when he jumped in the pool to save her.

    You are a great mom…I’ve seen you in action and I know. The reality is that life is fragile, even when you are a great parent.

    Some people will judge, because there will always be those who do, but I want you to know that “but for the grace of God go I”, and you, and every mother out there who loves her child.

    Good for you on doing something proactive! And Thank you Jesus for preserving Jayce’s little life. May God use you and this story to save the lives of many other children!

    Love,
    kellie

  4. Darcie – my heart goes out to you and your family. What a scary experience. I’m so glad that Jayce is ok and hopefully he won’t remember any of it. This is the second water story I’ve read this week – two reminders as we get ready to go the beach. We will be watching vigilantly. Thanks for sharing. Hugs!

  5. Darcie, I am so glad your son is okay, and sorry you both had to go through that experience.
    Your story is a great reminder for all of us to remain vigilant, not to get too comfortable.

  6. I’m so glad he’s okay! My heart is pounding from reading your story, not just because of your son but of how you must be feeling.

    Also, you’re not one of “those parents”. I hope you feel better soon.

  7. Oh Darcie ~ I have been praying for y’all but had no idea what was going on. How horrific that must have been for you. On any given day, that could have been any of us. I am so thankful that God took care of Jayce. We could all learn a thing or two from this post!

    With much love,

    Julie

  8. Wow. I am so happy he is okay! This brings tears to my eyes. I can only imagine the fear. Thank you for writing this and helping us all remember to be thankful AND vigilant.

  9. Oh my, this post brought tears to my eyes and it really hit home!

    We have a pool and our two little ones (son, 4 years old and daughter, 2 years old) have begged to be in it nearly every day this summer.

    I’ve been fortunate that nothing like this has happened to us, but I know it could! There have been times when I’ve dove down to the bottom of the pool to get a diving ring for one of the kids. It could happen then. There have been times when I’m helping one child swim across the short end of the pool holding a kick-board while the second child sits patiently on the step for their turn. It could happen then.

    I need to be more vigilant..all the time, not just most of the time!

    Thank you for sharing and reminding us of this important truth.

    I’m so thankful that your Jayce was okay.

  10. Darcie you are so right. I can happen to ANYone. How many times do I not make it that big of a deal when my 2-year-old son jumps in the pool before I can get in to catch him? Sometimes I even think it’s funny that he has no fear of the water. Thank you for opening your heart and telling your story for all to read. It will save someone. I just know it.

    And for now, I will pray that God place peace in your heart and hope that those awful images will slowly fade from your memory.

  11. My prayers continue to be with you and Jayce (as well as the whole family). I totally agree with what you have asked us to do. Both Matt and I are CPR certified and have been since the kids were born. We also enrolled Cate and Max in survival swim lessons these past two summers. They are often hard to watch, but I also feel safer knowing that they know what to do if they fell in or tripped in the water. But of course the most important is that parental watchful eye! Thanks for bringing awareness to it, even though I know this is NOT the way you (or anyone) intended this message to come from!

  12. I have been praying for you. I also just forwarded the link to your story to all my play group friends. There are about 25 of us and we go swimming together every other week.

  13. Praise the Lord!! So thankful for your son’s recovery.

    I too have experienced how it literally takes one second for a child to be drowning….My kids started swim lessons this summer, and in the meantime we spend our time at the pool in every flotation device available. It doesn’t just happen to “those” parents. The day my daughter slipped under the water, my husband and I were both right there; we just looked away for a second. Thankfully our incident was nothing more than a quick scare.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I will share it with others as well.

  14. Darcie, your story is so touching and has obviously made an impact on many. I have no doubt that we will all be incredibly careful in the water this summer. Thank you for sharing, I know that must have been hard. :)

  15. ((((Darcie))))
    It is huge that you shared that with us, and I’m so glad you did. It could have happened to any one of us — it has, and it will! I don’t know one parent who has gone through this and not wanted to blame themselves, even if they weren’t there. It’s in our very nature to protect our children, taking responsibility for any little (or ginormous) thing that goes wrong.
    I’m so glad that you got Jayce out in time and that he recovered just fine. Praise God! We will all learn from your experience, and I promise I will do everything I can to use it from this day forward. Love you so much!!
    Merrie

  16. I’m so happy that everything turned out for the best. Growing up with many summers in Arizona myself, its all you hear about every year.

    We practically live at the pool now with 2 boys on the swim team, but the younger 2 know that they don’t go near the ‘big pool’ unless they have their swim vests on (and only if Daddy is there with us…otherwise we restrict them to the kiddie pools). I am super-anal when it comes to this despite their pleading and begging. 3/4 of my boys have had near misses in the pool, 2 of which I was less than 2 feet away from them, one was even in a hot tub.

    You can never be to safe, thank you for the reminders for all of us out there.

    Both, dh and I have taken CPR courses in the past, but it never hurts to refresh it.

  17. Hope you don’t mind — I’m encouraging my two readers to visit this post. We could all use the reminder of what can happen to any of one of us!

  18. Oh Darcie….I was crying reading this post. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I had a similar incident with my son in the bath…I got him before things were critical but I still have that image in my head to this day. Thank goodness everyone is alright.

  19. I cried when I read your post. And of course the images of my own 2 year old underwater came to my head. She fell in the river at the River Walk in San Antonio. I had my hands on her when she fell. I don’t think I ever jumped into a river faster than I did when she went under. I am so glad that your Jayce is okay. I am praying for you to heal from the emotional trauma that you have been through. Thank you for your post. I hope that in reading it many people with be vigilant to protect their children.

  20. Wow what a powerful post and thank god that everything turned out the way it did! We’re at my parents pool almost everyday and it only takes a second! Thanks for opening my eyes a bit wider today! Hug your little Jayce tight for all of us!

  21. Thanks for publishing this. Thanks for taking the road you have. For what it’s worth, you sound like a freakin’ awesome parent. May God richly bless you, your home, household and heart!

  22. Oh, Darcie. I’m so sorry y’all went through this, and so happy that your tale is not worse.

    Drowning is probably the greatest fear I have for my children. Precisely because it can happen so quickly and under supervision. Our oldest son, Buddy, has had two incidents where he was face down in the water for a few seconds, and both times when I was within reach, in the water. I still have nightmares about it.

    Even now, with my girls being fairly strong swimmers, and Buddy having reached the point of not needing a flotation device, I am filled with anxiety any time we go swimming. It is not relaxing and carefree for me, and I don’t know if it ever will be.

    When we come home from swimming, and the kids are all resting, I go around and check on each of them, making sure they are really there and really safe. I try not to pass on my fears to them while helping them have a healthy respect for the dangers involved. Reading your story will only further remind me that we can never be too vigilant.

  23. Darcie, thank you for sharing this story. I know it must be difficult for you to relive this experience, but it needed to be shared. Sometimes we forget that it only takes an instant for things to go terribly wrong – thanks for the reminder. Now I’m going to go hug my children.

  24. Darcie, I’m so sorry to read your story…but so happy things turned out OK. You are a good parent – don’t ever doubt yourself.

  25. Thank you for sharing this, Darcie. We can never be reminded too often. I am so happy your story had a happy ending and that you are sharing it in the hopes of helping other.

    Your point about not being “those parents” has really hit home with me today, after dear family friends who are also most definitely not “those parents” lost a teenager to a drug overdose this weekend. Terrible things can happen to any of us. We cannot be too vigilant.

  26. I came here from Postcards from Insanity to read this post. Let me just say…your post terrified me. Thank you for writing it and pouring out your heart to us. It is not easy talking about things that we feel is our fault- and writing them on the internet for everyone to read is even harder.

    I haven’t read all the comments before mine and so I may be repeating what has already been said. But, you should not be so hard on yourself. Yes, your son almost drowned. Do you know how many times I have pulled my kids out of a pool? No of course not, you don’t know me. But honestly, I have watched as my kids went under and they didn’t make a peep. Not a single sound. The common misconception is that a drowning person will splash and yell out for help. They don’t- they just quietly go under. You are not responsible for your son’s near drowning. You are responsible for saving his life. Had you not been so vigilent about staying in the pool and watching your kids and counting heads, your son would not be with you today. I know how hard it is to accept this perspective, but it is truly how I see it. You did not go to that pool on that day and have intentions of your son drowning. You had intentions of a good time and keeping your kids safe. You did just that. Your son is alive and well and he has you to thank for that. Good job Mom.

  27. Darcie, I am so sorry you had to experience this. I am so happy that everything turned out ok, and that Jayce is doing well. What a painful reminder of how quickly things can happen even when we do all the right things. Your story brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing it with us. I will be thinking about you and your family!

  28. Darcie, I barely know you (new to your blog) but my heart raced and tears formed as I read your story here. How easily it could have been any one of us reading your blog. How easily it could have been one of my son’s laying next to me in the pool without my being aware. Praise God you are the good parent you are, and that you began counting heads again… you’re so blessed, he is blessed…and your story will save lives.

    Your story will light a kind fire under the hind ends of the parents reading your blog so that they aren’t the close call…or the ones that lose their child to a drowning.

    And please don’t think, even for a second, that people might read this and think you aren’t a good parent. That isn’t true. I know from your words…bad things happen to good people/kids/parents all of the time.

    HUGS to you and your family. I’m sorry for the painful memories you all will have to live with now, but I do hope that you’ll find more comfort in having each other than pain from the sight you had to witness that day.

    Nell

  29. Darcie – We all doubt ourselves as parents at one point or another in the lives of our children, but rest assured, Jayce has been blessed with a Mommy that loves him, would do anything for him, and has taken what I hope is the worst thing that will ever happen to him and turned it into a wake up call for all of us. We are so grateful to you for sharing this story, reminding us how fragile every moment of life is.

    Much love and prayers and you and Jayce walk the path of healing – both in body and mind.

  30. Hey sis I heard about this from J mo… You two are the best parents ever dont ever doubt urself look at me..I hope you guys know how much I love each and everyone of u guys and gals…call me sometime

  31. This is Becca’s Mom. I can only imagine what you and your family went through during this time. I thought I knew what Bec was feeling until I read this today. I have done nothing but thought about you, your family and Becca all day and really since Thursday when this happened. I just don’t know what to say – Thank you – for alerting others to the dangers. I know Becca and I know she is one of the most caring, wonderful Mom’s I know, and not just because she is my daughter but we have always been proud of the way her and Steve are bringing up our Grandsons. She is devastated that something like this has happened. I guess I just want to say “Thank You for being such a dear friend” And I know that God was with you and Bec and the kids that day. Don’t EVER let anyone say that you are both anything other than the best Mom’s. Accidents happen in a split second – thank God that everything turned out ok. I don’t know what else to say.

  32. Wow,,, you should publish this so that your words will be heard by the world… it is true that bad things do happen to good people, I may not know you personally but am very pleased to know Becca, and am glad that she was there to help you and share in your strengths. Some things bring people together for whatever reason, and it sounds like you two were meant to be together that day. My best to you and your family, and Stand tall, and smoother your children with all the love you can. Keep writing it will help you cope with this and all of the things that may come your way while raising children. Be safe….

  33. Darcie, I want to thank you for writing this. I’m sure that by putting your story out there in such a raw and emotional way will help to save somebody from the same situation or much worse. I’m so sure of this…

    Continued prayers and may God continue to wrap his mighty arms around you ever so tightly. ;)

  34. Darcie,
    I followed Sharon’s note from her website to read about her grandson. She is a wonderful lady and you are also.
    Your story was heart wrenching. I hope you will print your story and all the comments and scrapbook them or journal them for Jayce. He will need to know how one day you thought you might have lost him but with God’s grace and mercy he lives.
    This is the most wonderful part of the story but to know that your relationship with God lets you know that HE has mercy and grace on you and that you must rejoice in all that he has given you and that being joyful and praising HIM for the second chance with Jayce. You are not one of those parents….. but one of the kind that will live in eternity. Give Jayce a hug from all the strangers that have been touched by his life and his mother’s faith.

  35. Darcie,
    I am so sorry this happened to your family.
    This very same thing happened to us on May 27, 2007 when my son was 3 years old. It happened almost exactly the way you described.

    The only difference is that I was not there and for that I feel much guilt. Oh, so much guilt. I was away with my husband for our ten year anniversary. I left my children with a trusted family member who took them to our neighborhood pool. He turned away for just a second to look for my older child and when he turned back he could not find my son.

    In what was described to me as seconds in slow motion, another mother saw my son and pulled him out of the pool. She told me that she has nightmares of my son and what she saw. She described every moment to me just exactly the way you described your own experience.

    My own guilt has just pierced my soul of not being there and not reminding my brother to make sure he had on his life jacket. I really thought I did. I thought I left those instructions on the list. And I was a plane ride away. It was torture until I could get home and hold my baby.

    I am forever thankful to that other mother that not only was keeping an eye on her children but also noticed mine. Thankful does not really even begin to describe how I feel toward her. She was an angel.

    Praise God your Jayce is okay and yes it is a reminder of how diligent we have to be around water. It happens to the best of parents. I will be praying for healing of your heart – I know how broken it feels right now.

  36. Thank you for having the courage to write what had to be a difficult post for you. I’m so sorry to hear what you went through…it had to have been so frightening! I am always chastising my husband for being too “worried” when our 3 yr old is in the pool (with us right beside her), but I am going to change my tune after reading this. I’m so happy that your story had a happy ending. Prayers and hugs to you.

  37. I’m going to send this post to all of my friends who have children (I don’t have any but will be the helpful aunt whenever I can!), with the hopes that they think just one extra time about water safety. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have kids yet – I just can’t imagine the guilt and responsibility of having something so wonderful and having it all go so wrong. Your strength in this time is encouraging and deserved – my prayers are with your family and you.

  38. Oh, Darcie. I’m so glad that Jayce is safe and sound. I’ll likely think of this story for weeks (and months) now – and, yes, I will be extra vigilant around the water.

  39. Darcie,

    What a horrible thing that must have been for you to go through (one of my worst nightmares I occasionally have about my daughter). I am so sorry that you went through that but am very relieved to hear that your precious Jayce pulled through it all okay. This could’ve happened to any one of us (which doesn’t make us bad parents) it’s just impossible to watch them 24/7 and accidents do happen. At least you know that Jayce has an angel looking out for him! We are all here for you if you ever need anything. :)

  40. Darcie, you have been on my mind since your last post and am so thankful your little one is okay. God is so good.

  41. Oh, wow, Darcie, what a difficult experience – I am so glad that Jayce made it through okay – so thankful. I can’t imagine the fear you must have felt, and the guilt you must feel now, but you’re right, it is NOT your fault. God’s plans are beyond our understanding sometimes. Thank you for sharing this with us – I am praying for you & your family! I will also be watching my son more closely at the beach, even though he doesn’t like the water very much.

  42. I cannot imagine what you went through. Thank Yahweh he is okay. What a blessing. I’m sure you think of that everyday.
    Give him a hug and remember the other children, too. It was a hard thing for them to watch!

  43. Darcie – thank goodness Jayce is ok! You should commend yourself for taking the quick action that you did to save him. How terrifying! It could have been me, or anyone of us. But who knows if I would have been as vigilent as you in keeping a look out…probably not. But now I will. Pat yourself on the back girl!

  44. Darcie…I’ve been without computer for a few days…just read this. You know, I have had a panicky feeling in my belly for weeks now that something is going to happen to my baby girl–something just like this.

    I am so so sorry you and your family have gone through such a trauma. It could have happened to anyone, and yes, even the good parent. Thank God he is okay. Thank God.

  45. this is my first time here, as i linked here from kate’s. i sit with tears streaming down my face. i am so thankful that your little boy is okay. you are right, it can happen so quickly & it is no judgement on your parenting skills or love for your children.

    i have to tell you that TWICE in the last 2 weeks i have had to race to the neighbor’s inground pool after hearing screams. a 2 year old and a 20 month old fell in on 2 different occasions.

    i am SO thankful that they are okay….but, it really has been miraculous that they both are. which, obviously i would NEVER want ANY harm to be done to the children, but it makes me sick to my stomach because i feel like the adults involved still don’t get it. they almost laughed and said, “we’re so thankful that we have a pediatric nurse for a neighbor (me) and that you were outside both times.”
    i’m thankful for that too, but it i do not want there to be a next time.

    praise God for His protection over your family and that you “get it.”
    blessings

  46. There is actually a class that you can enroll 3 months old and up in that teach them how to float on their backs to save themselves and wait until someone can get them.

    It’s crazy they have a whole video and everything.

    My little man was fearless of the water and one day we went to a friends house who had a pool and we were out organizing a party and he just jumped in I was doing something turned my head for a sec and turned back around and saw him struggling. I jumped in fully clothed and pulled his head above water.

    I was a lifeguard for 5 years so i was aware of CPR… I luckily didn’t need to use it. I’m sorry you had to go through that, it’s every parents worse nightmare!

    I’m so happy he is okay.

  47. The thought of losing my daughter is absolutely horrifying to me, so I can’t even begin to imagine what you must have gone through. I’m so glad that your precious boy is safe! I’ve had my daughter in swimming lessons since she was a baby (she still hasn’t made it out of the 1st level!) and I won’t let her quit taking them. There’s just too much water around and it scares me knowing what could happen. I wish your family hadn’t gone through this, but I’m so glad that God blessed you with your son back! He is Good, isn’t He?

  48. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have three children, and I am always most vigilant about watching the younger two at the pool, but this is a much needed reminder that I need to be super-cautious with all of them. I’m so glad your son is OK, and thanks for sharing.

  49. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sending it to myself, then forwarding it to my three married children, one of whom just installed a pool this summer. I can only imagine how difficult this experience must have been, but it is a scene that I fear for my own grandchildren. Their parents are not “those” parents, either! Water is fascinating and at the same time dangerous and powerful, even in a calm pool. May God give you peace about this accident and ease the pain of the memory. I appreciate the warning!

  50. It’s so wonderful that you shared this story, not only as a reminder to all who have children swimming anywhere but because of your great message of faith through it all in God and sending that message out to others. You don’t know me but my daughter, Amanda Brown Powell, was a childhood friend of Jeff’s sister, Ashley.

  51. Oh my Darcie, your story is so touching and inspiring. But I love it that it has such a happy ending! You have been in our thoughts and prayers.

  52. I’m so glad he’s okay!! I was worried when I read your previous post.

    I can tell that you’re a great mom and I love reading your blog entries. I hope that when I have kids (someday!), I will be able to be a parent such as yourself. You’re a very admirable person and I look up to you!

    :)

  53. Darcie,

    I am so relieved Jayce is okay. I cannot imagine what you must have felt. Drowning is a fear I have always had. Some people think I worry about it too much, but I had a cousin drown at 2 years old and I cannot seem to get past that fear.

  54. Oh honey, I’m so sorry. You ARE a good mother, and I know how hard it must be to fully believe that right now. We’re always so hard on ourselves. I’m praying for your family and for you and your son specifically.

  55. Omygoodness Darc….I had NO idea until I just clicked on your blog. Tears are streaming down my face. My heart and mind were racing as I was READING. As a mommy, I can’t even begin to imagine. I love you Darc. My prayers are with ALL of you. xoxo

  56. You are such a powerful writer. I can’t imagine what you went through that day. Thanks for sharing it with us. And I can assure you I will be more vigilant from now on. And it goes without saying, but I have to say it, thank God Jayce is okay. (((hug)))

  57. How scary! I’m glad your baby is okay. And it’s true, it could have happened to any of us. That God that He is watching all of our children.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Maybe it will save another child’s life. I know I will be thinking of your experience the next time I take my daughter to a pool or lake.

  58. wow. Your writing is beautiful and touching. This made me cry! You are so right in that God’s grace is enough to cover us and love us and protect us from the fear/guilt/ick that threatens to overcome us. Thank you for sharing.

  59. I am so, so glad that your baby is okay. I think this is one of the most chilling things for me to think about as a parent- that things DO happen- right under our noses when we are paying attention.

    I’ll bet you saved some kids today. I know you’ve reminded me to be extra vigilant with mine. Thank you.

  60. i am so happy to hear that your son is ok. a true blessing.
    your story will be my second reminder to be more vigilant with my boys in the water… my first reminder came a few weeks ago when we were on vacation with family… i had just gotten out to get towels and my kiddos (and a cousin) were in the cool spa with my husband and brother. in a split second, my youngest went under… even with four adults near. noone heard or saw him. luckily my brother grabbed him while he was still holding his breath and kicking.
    we aren’t “those parents” either. and we are so careful with our kids around water. and like you said, it only takes a second. thanks for the reminder.

  61. What a serious call to action!
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Every year, multiple tragedies occur from family swimming pools. Like you said, it only takes seconds.
    I rejoice with you….knowing your sweet Jayce is ok. Life can be so painful…learning such a lesson (maybe God never wants us to forget) changes us or causes us to make necessary changes.

    I lost my baby brother (he was 3) to a drowning when I was 6years old. I watched as my mother (a good parent) never quite got over it.
    God bless you guys….and know….God has big plans for your sweet Jayce!

  62. Darcie, Oh, I’m so sorry. I know the images the memory saves. And I promise you over time it gets better. A little less sharp and a little more dull. And as you are doing, this situation will be turned for good.

    Love,
    Steph

  63. Darc,
    I know for a fact that you indeed are a wonderful mother and that you care deeply for your children and others. Never short yourself this. I am so thankful to God for Jayce being okay. Things happen in a split second. Things that no person can ever foresee. Things that we as humans have no control over. God took the reins on this and let us keep our precious angel he gave you. And in turn you learned exactly that. He looks out for us. I love you. And again you ARE a Wonderful Mom. Please just remember that. I have never seen someone so dedicated to her family. I hope that one day I can be a mother and learn from your example.

  64. Oh Darcie, This post is so heart wrenching, I can only imagine what you have been through. I thank our Precious Heavenly Father up above for sparing your son’s life and now you have this testimony and awareness. I promise you that after reading this, I am taking a CPR course. I have 6 grandchildren and I have been putting off taking this class for years and now after reading this, I will be checking in my town to sign up. You sound like a wonderful mother and I pray for God to help you erase that day from your mind. By the way, I found you thru Erin’s blog.

  65. I came to this as a link from my friend’s Facebook page. When I was a teenager, a friend of ours had an inground pool and would often have family parties. I can’t tell you how many times I helped a struggling little one b/c their parent turned their head to check on the older children and the little one fell on a step or slip through a float ring or took a head dive out their little boat, etc. B/c of that I’ve always been a little “water paranoid.” (to the point that I didn’t let them even take a bath without an adult or sibling in the room with them until they were like 4 or 5 and they still can’t get in the pool -no matter how shallow – without a sibling or an adult with them) Even with all that, when my oldest was just over 2, he fell (read jumped) in a pool over his head. I had been in the adjacent baby pool that was separated by a fence. My girlfriend had the boys in a preschool pool 1 1/2 -3ft deep and was walking the boys back to the picnic area. My son didn’t realize he couldn’t touch in the deep part without his wings and just jumped in thinking he’d swim to the other end then get out. I still cringe at the memory of watching him jump in and his head completely under the surface. I screamed my friend’s name, handed her my baby, hopped the fence and scooped him out. It all happened in less than a minute, but it felt like an eternity. God was so good and after some sputtering and shivers, he was fine. (I think my heart took the rest of the day to return to a normal pace and I can feel it racing just writing about it.)
    Thank you for sharing your story! Any time I hear of a drowning, my first thought is “and where was the parent?” It’s always a good reminder that no matter how diligent, it can happen to anyone. The last thing a suffering parent needs is to feel judged by all others as being negligent. (The self guilt is more than judgment enough!!) Thank you again for sharing and the reminder! And PRAISE GOD for little Jayce’s safe recovery!!!!

  66. Your story is heartbreaking, and your writing is powerful. Thank you for sharing. One of the most effective ways to change human behavior is to share stories like yours and allow people to see and feel how it relates to them.
    When ever your ready for that CPR class just let me know. We can schedule a class for you and your family or friends.

  67. I feel awful because I am just getting caught up on this, for obvious reasons, but still. How seriously frightening. I’m so glad he’s okay, but I still cannot imagine how frightened and terrified you must have been–and still are. Love you, babe.

  68. I have missed your recently heart wrenching events. As I read your post my heart bled for you and your pain as a mother in experiencing something so scary. I am so glad to hear all is wellnow. you mentioned a call to action and I think that is wonderful. In response, I’d like to second the person who mentioned the special swim lessons. My youngest took ISR swim lessons (Infant Swim Resource). http://www.infantswim.com It is incredible what they can teach little ones as young as six months. Their whole focus is on teaching survival swimming. It was the very best money I ever spent on one of my children, aside from car seats. Living in Florida and having our own pool made it very important to me. It is not an infant swimming class – it teaches them, no imprints them really, on what to do when in the water. For the little ones they learn to float on their back and wait to be rescued. As they get older they learn to swim, then float to rest and get their breath, and then swim again. It is truly incredible to see these little kids do well in the water. Because we can’t always have our eyes on them every minute. It gives another layer of protection for them. We still kept our pool fence up, stayed in the water with them, and had very strict rules about playing near the pool area. This is one extra layer of safety. I tell most people who I meet in a pool about ISR. I recently shared with my sister in law, who has a “waterbug” 9 month old that she should look into being an instructor in Alabama since there aren’t any in her area.

    Hugs to you all and I am so glad Jayce has a mommy like you. You are incredible and your kids are blessed.

  69. So glad Jayce is okay! Praise God.

    You are a great mother and I am so glad that you are committed to not punishing yourself over this.

    Thank you for telling this story and encouraging all of us to take some kind of action. I actually just had a scary water moment yesterday with Austin. I had gone to the lake with a friend and we were sitting about four feet from the shoreline while the kids mostly played in the sand with their toys. Occasionally our boys (both 3.5) would splash around in the shallow water and were reminded often not to get into the water above their belly buttons. We were talking but had our eyes on the water and kids the whole time. At one point Mia came over and asked me for a juice box. I reached into my bag to get her juice and I heard my friend ask Austin if he was okay. I then saw her jump up from her seat and start running toward the water. I pushed poor Mia out of my way and took off too. Austin had gone farther into the water to get a toy that had started to float away. He was soon too deep and though he was kicking his feet to try to stay above the water, he was also panicking and taking in water. My friend got there moments before me and grabbed him. I scooped him up and within seconds of having him in my arms he threw up, mostly from the combination of crying and the water he took in. I will gladly be thrown up on for that. Austin has had basic swim classes and I was going to put him in a more advanced class this summer, but they suddenly changed the starting age from 2.5 to 4 years old and so he wasn’t old enough. That now seriously angers me. Our area is surrounded by lakes, rivers, pools and we are only an hour from the ocean. Why in the world are there not swim classes for children his age?

    I am looking into taking a CPR class at our local YMCA this fall. I am sure that it will come in handy at some point in my life.

  70. I felt for you. Thank God the child is OK. It happened to me, too, with my three toddlers at a community pond. The lifeguard had forbidden us to use a lifejacket on one of the three (deaf boy) and both my husband and I were divided watching the three right below the lifeguard station. Suddenly I noticed a familiar bathing suit: our youngest girl, age 18 months, was floating just below the surface of the water a yard from me. I screamed, snatched her out of the water, and she began crying immediately. There hadn’t been enough seconds passed for her to drown, thank God. We left the pond and did not go back until after the kids were taller.

  71. I am so sorry for you Darcie. My heart stopped as I read your post today – nearly 10 days after it happened. Bless you and your family. You are all in my thoughts.

  72. I am so glad your baby is ok. I am told too often that I am overly cautious in the water with my son. (I cannot swim myself) but I know now that it really only does take a second. Thanks for the reminder. Your story will touch many I just know it!

  73. I came over from 5 Minutes for Parenting via Steph’s urging. I am so glad she chose to share this story, Your story, Jayce’s story with us.

    We take our kids to the pool frequently and although they wear life jackets i have always been terrified that something would go wrong in that split second that i turn my head. It has always been one of my biggest fears. I think ever parents fear! Not necessarily that there child will drown but that we would not be paying enough attention and they would get hurt under our care.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us and i will be going to take CPR classes before our 3rd son is born.

  74. How easy it is to pass judgment. I’ve been guilty of it, too, not aloud, maybe, but internally. And yet I know how many close calls I’ve had with my daughter. You’re right, it only takes a moment.

    And I’m so glad your baby is ok…

  75. That sounds truly terrifying. I am so glad your baby boy is okay. Thank you so much for sharing the story with us sometimes we all need a little reminder that bad things can happen to anyone including ourselves. I am sure your story will touch many!

  76. I’m speechless. I will keep paying for the ridiculously expensive swimming lessons. I will help my second son learn to swim. Thank you for sharing.

    You are a great mom.

  77. We like to think as parents that if we are only good enough, if we observe all the rituals carefully enough, we can hold this up like a talisman and ward off tragedy. But the truth is that we cannot always be 100% vigilant and perfect and there are forces beyond our control.

    I am amazed you can be so coherent, let alone so articulate but I thank you for that.

    My children are enrolled in swim lessons that emphasize safety and I know CPR. The actions you urged will save lives. You are truly blessed and thank you for sharing your gift with the world and helping so many other families.

  78. I just wanted you to know that this story is making it’s way around the internet. I am SO sorry that you had to go through this. However, because you have shared this, you have probably prompted more people than you can imagine to sign their kids up for swimming lessons, learn CPR, and be extra vigilant (which I am sure you were as well). You and Jayce are saving lives with your story. Much love to you and your family.

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