A horrible thing happened today. It was definitely my fault and I am lucky that it has only left me with an awesome image of my friend rescuing my son (while holding my daughter!), some real perspective on the price of a parent's vigilance, and a sea of relief.

I have been so lucky to find a friend on the Island whom I would want as a mate in any context. Sophie has sailed around the world, accomplished extra-ordinary things, is never afraid to learn and re-learn and listens with both ears. Many of my interactions include a minefield of cultural complications, so its great to have a person I can say anything to, without fear that it will be lost in translation.

Today Sophie came with me to take the children to the beach. When Matti insisted we stop talking and get in the sea we walked to the edge of the water. Anton sat in his inflatable car and Sophie held Neve, and I in a mad, thoughtless moment swam a few metres out before turning round. As I was swimming towards them I saw that the inflatable was upside down and only Anton's legs were visible, sticking up through the leg holes. The rest of him was submerged and there was no way he could right himself. I screamed to Sophie and started running on sand, through water. In one movement she strode to him and by one leg lifted his face above water. The force of this movement sent her falling backwards with Neve in her arms. I don't think I will ever forget the sight of Sophie in her bikini, long hair flying, holding Anton high by an ankle, with Neve in the other arm. Time slowed so much through this incident, that I saw it frame by frame. What felt like seconds was fractions. Anton had not gulped water, he didn't cough, just cried for the same amount of time as for a scratched knee. Sophie and I shook with the knowledge of the consequences of more time.

Though I spend a lot of time near the water during summer here, I have swum unhindered for less than an hour over the past two years. I am usually alone with the children at the beach and so can only go into the water with them. Last time I was at this beach I had Neve in her ErgoBaby, her feet trailing in the water while I made Anton glide around with his arms through a rubber ring. When he prefers just to paddle and build sand roads that is what I do too. Today was the first time I put my longing for the water above vigilance. I swam just a few strokes before heading back leaving no time for anything worse to occur. All my frustration at not being able to stretch into the water is now firmly in perspective.

As for delight, today Neve sat up for a long time rubbing the sand with her fingers, examining it on the hands she has just discovered, and, of course, cramming it into her mouth.

Neve sitting in the sand.

Sophie, Anton and Neve shortly after disaster was averted.

Neve in her sun hat.

Anton and the car inflatable.

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4 thoughts on “Save.

  1. Anonymous00:48

    oh how scary! I'm SO glad nothing came of it other than a lesson learned! It makes me shake in my skin just thinking about it. I love your use of the sand to help prop bubba up :) Looks like she is close to the same age as my son (who has only just learned to sit unaided at 6mths)

    I hope your son's spill into the water has no lasting effects (fear of water), which happened to my daughter when she went to the deep end of the pool by accident without her floatation device (Daddy caught her just as she went under - she didn't go near the water without one of us)

  2. Oh Julia, how scary! You are having your fair share of scary parenting moments lately! I'm so glad that Anton was okay, and that your friend didn't drop the baby!
    Neve looks so sweet sitting there in the sand. :-)
    I'm also glad to hear that you have a good friend there with whom communication is easy. It helps immensely when living in a foreign country I know.

  3. Wow, heart stopping moment there! Thank Goodness you were covered by the care of your lovely friend! And your children, too! The photos are just lovely, Neve has such beautiful eyes.

  4. Dear Julia, what a heartstopping moment, how I wish you would live nearer and could be more of help to you. I am grateful that you have a good friend in Sophie! Love to you all!!


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