Well, maybe not always but this time -- definitely!
It's been super hot, even for California, so when it cooled off a bit yesterday, we took the boys to Folsom Lake for a dip in the water. I have a healthy fear of large bodies of water that stems from my lack of super-awesome swimming skills and the anxiety of knowing I might not be able to save my own life, more or less, one of the boys'.
"We should get their life jackets from your mom's" I said to Jay with this exact thought in my mind. I'm sure his response was something along the lines of "They'll be fine..." and we got back to getting ready. Jay found an access road way in the back of the lake and we off-roaded to a nice little cove, with a bit of shore & sand to play on. It was a pretty busy piece of lake, with lots of boats and ski-doos, people hanging on the banks.
We walked out a ways into the water but again, my anxiety won't let me go out too far and for good reason: the drop-offs in Folsom Lake can be sudden and deep. I clung to Paxton and told Jay not to let go of Phoenix but after a few minutes I was over it. We started back to shore; I'm watching Jay & Phoenix out of the corner of my eye, as they walk along my left side towards the beach when I see Jay step off into nothing, with Phoenix right behind. I froze.
All I could do was watch as Jay goes under trying to hoist Phoenix back up onto the ledge they just stepped off of. I watched the panic come over Phoenix as he paddled as hard as he could; Jay gave it all he had and threw him onto the rocks. I reached out for his hand, got him out of the water & walked him up to the Jeep. Jay threw himself up on the rock and came to check out Phoenix. Legs scraped up, bleeding & bruised, having swallowed a bit of water, he was shaken & scared. We all were.
"I guess we do need life jackets at the lake." Jay says as I hand him Paxton so I can wipe the blood off Phoenix. 'I told you so,' I thought. I'd already seen this happen once, when Phoenix was two & walked off the edge of the spa at Jay's parents, which is why I suggested getting the jackets to start with. I know these kids; they're crazy for water and given half the chance, they will drowned themselves.
We didn't want to traumatize him so we stayed a while longer, played in the mud and eventually got back in the water to rinse off. We made sure to stay ankle deep this time and just splashed around to clean off our mud suits. Neither of them made a fuss when we said "Time to go" and packed up the truck. After a quick stop at McDonald's, we headed home. When they had been fed, bathed, read to and kissed good night, we could finally talk about how PETRIFYING the whole event had been.
It's probably no surprise that I had water-related nightmares all night or that Jay & I are now in total agreement that life jackets are essential every time we go swimming. They aren't called "life jackets" for no reason...