Saturday, July 31, 2004

Rescuing J, and the aftermath in my heart

It's true. I'm not. I tried. I'm tired enough. I feel like I'm still in the ocean. I'm still moving. I feel waves. I can't quite get it to stop. I took one of the anti-vertigo pills that I had prescribed to me earlier this year when I had a serious bout with the dizzies that just wouldn't or couldn't quit.

(You know the vertigo is so dangerous you'll have to sign a waver).

But I can't fall asleep yet. It'll be about an hour before the pill itself renders me unconscious, part and parcel of dealing with being dizzy is a pill that knocks your ass on its ass and makes you sleep long and hard. Doug's asleep, Jessica won't paint my toenails for me, so, I journal the day's events.

There's an event I'm still mulling over.

I was at D's beach house today. Her friend P has a little 5 year old boy who's name begins with J.

J and Geoff got along pretty well. We all played like mad together. At one point, D. asked me "How'd you end up with all the kids?" I usually do end up with all the kids. And it doesn't bother me in the least.

We flew a kite. We went tide pooling. P. came with us for a long walk. It was nice to spend time with someone and get to know them. J. told me how when you crash your dirt bike you say "I got busted" and I told him I was so proud to learn something new today, and thanked him for being my teacher. He was thrilled to be a teacher.

Like me with Geoff, P. rolled her eyes at her son's ridiculousness, but I ate it up. Geoff's my kid. He does the same shit. And other people eat it up while my eyes do the rolling thing.

Later in the day, Geoff and J. were using a boogie board to desperately try and catch any possible tiny lump of a wave. The tide had gone out hugely far, and unbeknownst to me, the current is a bitch when the tide is full out.

Geoff wanted to get ready to go inside to watch Pokemon at 4pm, so he gave J. the boogie board. All the moms were on the beach, but me and my little foldy chair were right in the tide, all the way in at the water's edge.

Geoff started out of the water and I took one look at J. He didn't look very... confident in his solitary position.

"Do you need a hand, buddy?" I asked him.

Had he said no, I probably would have walked away, knowing other mommies had an eye on him too. I would have thought nothing of it.

"Yes, I need some help," he answered in this very scared little voice.

I didn't jump. It seemed routine. Pull a kid back to where he feels safe, encourage him to stay there. Yadda yadda ya. Piece of cake.

I got up out of my seat, and walked into the unbelievably Oh My God It's Freezing cold water. I took three steps and the fourth put me in over my head. I had no idea the channel dropped off right there at low tide.

Suddenly, I had a mouthful of water, and my hand was still about 5 feet away from the edge of the boogie board, and J... I recovered from the sudden shock of submersion in ice water, hit bottom with both feet and launched to J.

I grabbed the end of the boogie board with my finger tips, knowing that if I didn't I'd probably sink from the shock of being so damn cold, and he'd be floating out to the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant while I waited for someone to come rescue me, too.

When I spit out the mouthful of water I'd just about inhaled, and started to paddle and kick back to the shallow ledge, J. told me that spitting was disgusting.

It made me smile, that in this instant of impending doom, he'd see the one thing that I did that was "Eww, gross" instead of "Yay! You're saving me!"

"That's the least of my worries right now, buddy," I answered. "My biggest concern is getting you and me to a place where my feet hit the ground."

A few kicks later and I was there, the water was suddenly 2 feet deep again, crisis and near death averted, and I stood him up and took the board away. I encouraged him to stay out of the water until the tide came up, and I was bricking as I totally realized,

I saved his little life.

No lie.

Totally and completely, I saved him. And it overwhelms me. What if he told me he was all set, and I turned and walked away? How quickly would he have been out in the channel, a little 5 year old peanut boy unable to swim, float or anything. No one else would have been able to get to him.

Holy shit. I stopped in my tracks, board in hand, noting Geoff's location up the beach. I looked J. in the eye.

"Dude, do you realize I saved you?"

And his short little blonde hair which blended perfectly into his pretty white forehead, and his bright shiny eyes looked at me.

"Yeah," he answered and then he threw a handful of sand at me.

Praise the Lord.

I had a wonderful time at the beach today. I realized today that there are so many smells that I forgotten from having not gone to the beach in an incredibly long time.

I forgot what the smell of certain suntan oils mixed with salt water and humid air smells like. The smell of someone smoking at the beach --- it's probably the only place that the smell of a cigarette doesn't entirely gross the hell out of me. How books smell when you're reading them at the beach.

And how little blonde haired boys smell when you get home, get showered and cleaned up and into a little skin lotion to soothe that sunburn on the lower back where you missed putting on sunblock.

I let P. know what happened with J. today. She was thankful and said that she saw him looking not too comfortable and had just stood up when she saw me go out and in to grab him. Glad all eyes were out on alert for the boys today.

I'm glad that P. gets to bring him home and smell what he smells like after a day at the beach, because Holy Mother, it would so suck to have lost that for good.

I smelled Geoff good and hard this evening.

He will NOT let me kiss him. "Kisses are for babies," he tells me. Once in a while I squeeze one in, but boy does he get mad.

So we do this new thing. We put our faces near each other, usually cheek to cheek, and we make this puckery sucking noise into the air together. He counts it off, One Two Three! "Pop!" And it is incredibly funny. Not as good as a kiss on his little blonde head, but hey. It's a good time.

And I'm so thankful for it.

Another thing that overwhelms me about today is what if I wasn't there and it was Geoff who was 10 feet over his head and out into the channel. He can hold his breath. He can be in over his head with the boogie board and damned if he doesn't hold onto that thing as if it is Odysseus' garter. He is two years older, a foot taller, and a lot stronger.

Would another person have jumped in? I think in this group of women, yes, absolutely. Someone would have jumped in. But would they have done so quickly? I don't know. Everyone was so mellow, and I don't think everyone knew about the evil drop off into the Mariana Trench right there in the middle of playtime.

Could I have lost the boy?

I can't bear to imagine such an instant in my life where voom, he's gone. I can't bear to even ponder what my life would be like. It paralyzes me, it makes me...

unable to sleep.

I bitch about the little brats, sure I do. This journal is mostly my opportunity to vent when they get under my fingernails. But oh my God. What joy they bring, and how much fun I have with them. And I would cease to be the person I am if I lost one of them.

Which, I think, is more the reason I cannot sleep tonight.

Do me a favor. Go in your kids' room, if you have a kid. Smell him, or her.

Yeah, I'm totally serious. Smell them. Smell what they smell like. And try to never forget it. Do you remember what he smelled like when he was a baby? A toddler? It gets harder to do this activity when he or she is older. 10 is one thing. 18, well... your 18 year old may not appreciate the smelling, but tell him it's an experiment in parenting and bonding and you're not looking to see if he smells like pot (if he does, kick his ass? maybe?).

Tomorrow, ask him or her to teach you something. If you get the "Mom or Dad, you're a friggin' psycho" look, just ask them to humor you and tell them you sure as hell humor them more than they can imagine and they'd better frigging get busy and teach you something, damnit!.

If she wants to teach you the intricacies of "Harvest Moon" for PlayStation II, pay close attention.

If he wants to talk about some friggin' Pokemon they like, find out its stats, it's weight, whether it is water, rock, earth or fire type.

And smell him or her again. Kiss him or her if kisses aren't for babies, and if kisses ARE for babies, just make a funny noise cheek to cheek.

You'll never regret it.

Much love and now off to try and sleep.

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