Photo Credit: Klobetime (Creative Commons)
It was a hot summer Arizona day. The smell of barbecue burgers was making everyone wish it was lunchtime already. The joyful screams of children playing in the swimming pool filled the air as the adults lounged twenty feet away, enjoying the respite and the shade. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my daughter Cynthia jumping into the water. Then her body went limp in mid-air as she started into an absent seizure.
I threw my sandals aside, dashed to the pool and jumped in after her. I saw her body face-down, lifelessly floating downward in the pool. I grabbed her and rose to the surface fast as I could. As we neared the edge, Cynthia remained in her seizure. I pulled her out of the pool with me and cradled her in my arms for about three minutes, as she stared off into space.
As quickly as it had started, the seizure was over. She looked up at me, completely confused. “Poor girl,” I thought. “She has moved into her postictal state, and is probably done swimming today.”
Not exactly….she smiled and said, “Dad? Thanks for hugging me, and I love you too. Can I go back to swimming now?”
I let her go swim with her friends, and stayed on the side of the pool, silently weeping prayers of gratitude.
What would have happened if I had turned my head to the left instead of the right and missed her jump? What if nobody noticed and my daughter slowly sunk to the bottom of the pool?
There is a possibility that my daughter may have died if things had been different.
It’s not very often that we have true life-or-death moments in parenting, but this was one of those rare moments in time.
Every day I don my Superman shirt, I think of that warm summer day, and thank God that I had the chance to play a superhero for an afternoon.
Even now, just thinking of that causes all the emotions to flood back into my mind though. The panic. The fear. The relief. The gratitude. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that a tear is running down my cheek as I write this.
When have you been a superhero?
When I walked into the Director of Special Education’s office, dressed in my suit instead of jeans and a T-shirt, with formal letter in hand, and told him that their proposed placement for my daughter Mary for the next year was against the law.
It saved her life…
I regularly read your blog. I have to say, I think you are a superhero most days of your life. You inspire me!
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