Boat docks are made to stabilize boats, not children. The other day, my four-year-old and I learned that the hard way.
With Mommy at one end of the 20-foot pier and five kids at the other, curiosity got the best of an otherwise perfectly dry little girl.
I’m not sure if she just lost her balance on the slightly rocking platform or whether she just leaned over too far without realizing it, but I do know one thing – the sound of a thirty pound splash kicks adrenaline in a mommy faster than nitro-methane does in a daddy.
She fell in, I jumped in, and, praise God, it’s nothing more than an etched memory in our family’s log of amusing things to reminisce.
The detail I learned most from as Maylee’s mom (other than the fact that she really shouldn’t be at the end of a dock without me) is that all the “swimming” with flotation devices at the local YMCA with me actually worked. For the 10-15 second baptism, that girl was treading water like nobody’s business. Her head was not submerged. She didn’t gulp any water. She never gasped for air. She may not be able to swim, but my baby did not sink. Thank God.
And you should have seen her sisters’ reaction to the whole thing. It was one of extreme concern, extending their little hands and reaching desperately for her as well.
Like I always say, these girls teach me just as much as I teach them. As I replay the scenario in my “what could I have done differently?” mommy mind and consider what my littlest girl did when she was caught off-guard and thrown into a panicked situation, all I see is myself.
Usually, I’m the one wandering a little too far from the safety of my Protector. I’m the one curiously contemplating what might be in that deep well of vast unknowns. And, of course, I’m the one repeatedly falling in, panicking, and then having to fearfully use every ounce of strength I have just to stay afloat. Sometimes I’m treading so desperately that I, like Maylee, can’t even reach up to grab the hands extended to me. Even if I could, I’d probably just end up pulling them in with me anyway.
God knows I can’t keep from drowning for too very long on my own, though. He always jumps right in after me. He throws out life-preservers (AKA my brothers and sisters in Christ) who continually extend their hands, reach for me, and try to pull me up where they are.
It’s quite ironic, and even more humbling, when I think about the fact that I began my week near-drowning, too. I wrote another self-pitying rant about my distrust of the church, which translates, ultimately, to my distrust of God Himself, and God, in turn, sent at least five brothers and sisters to lift me out of my self-made, murky, me-first waters. Talk about eating your words.
I guess it’s hard to think about anything other than treading water when you’re drowning, though. It’s hard to reach up when you don’t have the strength to stay afloat without your arms – as puny as they are. Those acts take an enormous amount of trust in the other parties who seek to help – especially if previous “helpers” have annihilated your naivety to trust rightly.
There is only one who Maylee trusted to help her and that was me. The one who feeds, clothes, and cares for her the most. All her flailing and fear would have drowned her sisters and left them both sinking if they had jumped in to get her. She even managed to push my head under a couple times before she got out, but past “I’m pretty sure I’m going to die” triathlon swims have made me strong enough and confident enough to endure much more than that.
Bottom line – you can’t drown your Daddy. Be it tears, distrust, temper tantrums, or trifles, God is a great swimmer. If he sees you sinking, he’ll save. That’s what mommies and daddies do.