My Wife Saved My Daughter’s Life on the 4th of July

Yesterday my family and I spent the 4th of July like a lot of families do; we attended the morning parade, had a good lunch with friends and then went swimming and had a cookout in the evening, topped off with a band and a fireworks display. It was basically a stereotypical 4th of July. For a brief moment however, it almost turned into the worst day of my life.

After the kids and I finished eating, the kids wanted to go swimming. I had to use the bathroom so I made my way to the bathroom that was in my friend’s garage. My 3 and 5 year old kids beat me to it so they could change into their swimsuits. I helped them change out of their clothes, put their suits on them, and then sent them back out to give their clothes to my wife. I stayed in the bathroom.

When I got out, I headed for the dessert table so I could try out the Lucky Charm Crispy Treat that my wife baked. As I was getting a plate, my friend who came up from Florida called my name and waved me over. I raised a finger as to say “just a minute” and he waved me over again. Typically he would have just given me a nod as if to say “okay, as soon as you’re done” but since he didn’t, I thought he had something important to tell me.

I walked over to him and he said “everyone is okay but your wife had to go in the pool to get your daughter. They’re over there” and he pointed to the table where they were sitting.

I walked over immediately to find my wife, soaking wet in the jeans and T-shirt that she wore to the cookout, cradling my 3 year old in a towel, my wife’s mascara running down her face from a combination of water from the pool and tears from her crying. I checked on them both and thankfully they were okay. My wife went home to change and the rest of the evening went exactly as planned.

As I was in the bathroom, apparently my 3 year old was playing near the steps to the pool where the shallow end was. She can touch on her tip toes to a certain extent, so she just walked in. From what I was told later she just walked out too far and went under water. Thankfully, my wife saw her go into the pool and sprang into action. She screamed my daughter’s name and didn’t hesitate to jump into the pool with her clothes on. She was the only person to see my daughter go under water because whenever she screamed her name, everyone else at the party froze. My wife got to my daughter quickly, so that even though my daughter did go under water, she was only under for a few seconds at the most.

When she got out she coughed up some water but was for the most part more shaken up than anything else. It was scarier than it was serious because of the unfortunate potential of what could have been, had my wife not sprang into action.

It took a while for me to process everything that had happened and as I write this piece about 13 hours later, it’s still taking me time to process. I don’t think I have ever felt such extreme feelings of gratitude, guilt, relief, fear, and a true sense of perspective all at one time.

Gratitude to my wife for her quick action, gratitude that my daughter wasn’t seriously hurt, gratitude to my friend for quickly telling me what had happened.

Guilt for being in the bathroom as my child was underwater, guilt for working two jobs and feeling like I’m away from my kids all the time, guilt for being a financial failure, guilt for things that don’t have anything to do with my kids but feeling guilty about them nonetheless.

Relief that we all avoided the worst case scenario in that situation.

Fear of what might have happened had my wife not noticed that my 3 year old had slipped into the pool without her swimmies on.

Finally, a true sense of perspective about what really matters; kids, family, and friends.

I won’t ever be able to repay my wife for saving my child but I also hope that I will never have to. I gave her the most sincere “thank you” that I have ever given anyone and she said “that’s what mother’s do.”

That is very true. That’s what good mother’s do.

Thankfully, my kids have the best.

And I have a new hero.

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