Yesterday my sweet, tenderhearted and rambunctious little man turned 3. It seems like just yesterday I was blogging about his entry into the world. These days, I'm feeling extra thankful for him.
This past summer we were camping in BC. We were at an extended family members home for a laundry and swimming stop. We had drilled the kids in the car about water safety not going near the water without their floaties on. Earlier that trip, Jonah had plunged into the lake (in shallow water thankfully) with no floatie only to find that without the floatie, he did not float. My cousin grabbed him out as he gasped for air and I explained the concept: NO floatie means NO floating. It's the floatie that makes you float. With this experience only days before, I was certain he would remember the concept- no floatie equals no floating.
The kids were all safely strapped into their flotation devices and enjoying the pool. Jonah's favorite trick was sitting on the edge of the pool, saying, "Mommy, watch!" and then plopping himself into the water only to float to the surface only seconds later. He repeated this many times until it was lunchtime.
Lunch was served on the deck, up several steps and away from the water's edge so the floaties were removed. The kids were playing at our feet when I decided to go check if my sister's load of laundry in the washer was done so I could start mine. My husband was sitting with the kids so I headed inside only to find there were a few minutes still left on the load. I turned right around to head back out. As I was rounding the corner, I saw my husband coming in to throw out some garbage and my first thought was, I need to put Jonah's floatie back on. I headed straight outside to see only Sophie sitting on the deck playing where I had left them. I quickly scanned the deck. No Jonah.
My eyes darted to the pool where I saw the most terrifying sight: little blue swimming trunks and hands sticking straight up from a motionless body in the middle of pool, completely under water.
I remember saying, "JONAH!" before sprinting across the deck and diving into the pool fully clothed. My brother-in-law and the visiting emergency-room-nurse-neighbor grabbed him from me once I was able to lift him above the water. His eyes were bulging and he was choking out water but he was conscious.
He clung to me without moving for many minutes. Soon after he looked up at me with the saddest eyes and softly said, "Mommy, I couldn't see anything." I squeezed him tighter and then came my tears. Then in true Jonah fashion, his next comment lightened the mood: "Mommy why are you all wet?"
The flood of emotions and fears quickly flooded. What if's were tormenting me. Right then and there I said out loud, "Jesus, let no Spirit of fear take root in either of us." In the moments after, God brought to mind all the prayers in the last few years for God's protection on his life. I was reminded that God, who is outside of time, can answer a prayer uttered at anytime, in any moment that He sees fit.
After a solid half hour of snuggling, he was able to get back in the pool, but his request was, I don't want to get my face wet. Within 15 minutes he was jumping off the edge with someone was catching him. By the end of the hour, He was jumping in the water, going under and popping up no trace of fear.
We carried on later that afternoon to the family reunion we had come for. When we arrived, my sister asked Jonah how his day was. His response was, "I didn't have in my floatie and I was sinkin' like a wock." She looked at my wide eyed and I confirmed his story.
Our family came over on Sunday to celebrate his life. I choked on tears as I prayed "God, thank you for another year in his life." It had a whole new meaning.
For many days afterward my mind floated back to what could've happened. As that happened I felt like God was reminding me not to rehearse the what if's but to express my thankfulness.
I'm thankful for the load of laundry that wasn't done. I'm thankful for the nurse who was there and able check him over. I'm thankful for my brave boy who got back in the water. When he was tantruming a few days later, I was trying to be thankful... just kidding, I was.
I'm thankful we got to celebrate 3 years in his life yesterday. I'm thankful that God is faithful to extinguish fear even before it has an opportunity to take root. I'm thankful for his "Captain Amewica" shield of faith. I'm thankful He's here. I'm thankful that I am still entrusted with the precious and important job of being his mommy.
I will continue asking God for His protection on my kid's lives. You never know when they'll need it!
Oh, and we will all be taking swimming lessons in the very near future.
"Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)