On Thursday evenings, Phil and I take ALL the kids for swimming lessons at the YMCA. Phil and I get in the pool with Eamon & Maggie, and John-Paul & Andrew each go to their respective swimming classes.
Throughout the lessons, I am able to keep my eye on everyone, and each class has an instructor, a lifeguard and five kids max. So I have always felt that the kids were very safe...until last Thursday.
At the end of the older boys' lessons, they get to jump into the deep end of the pool. I was still in the shallow end of the pool when I saw John-Paul getting ready to jump in. He told the instructor that he didn't need any help (he likes to jump in by himself instead of jumping into the instructor's arms), so she told him to jump. He did a nice twisting jump right in and then came up to the surface and started swimming to the side of the pool.
The instructor turned to the next student and had her get ready to jump in. Meanwhile, I saw John-Paul struggling in the water and start bobbing up and down. I yelled "Somebody help him, he's going underwater!" but nobody could hear me. I frantically turned to Phil and yelled at him to "GO HELP JOHN-PAUL" but he was holding Maggie and hadn't seen anything that was happening, so it took him a minute to process what was going on as he started to walk towards him.
It was the worst feeling in the world, I was helpless. I couldn't swim to him fast enough, and nobody could hear my screams. There were about 15 parents standing around the pool, two instructors in the deep end of the pool, and two lifeguards looking on, and NOBODY COULD SEE what was happening. It was only about 30 seconds but felt like slow motion, it was awful.
Finally, as I was running towards him, he started to go under, and his little hand popped up above his head and the teacher happened to turn his way and saw him and pulled him out. He sputtered and coughed for a minute and was embarrassed. I gave him a big hug and told him it was okay and that he was so brave.
Then I talked to the teacher, who obviously felt terrible about the whole thing. She thought when he said he didn't need any help, that he could do it all himself (including getting out of the pool). Next week, I will reinforce that she needs to make sure the child is out of the pool before the next child jumps in.
Thank God everything worked out okay, and thank God for Guardian Angels!!