Last night, Jack and Lucy were in the bath together. I left to go and fetch some towels leaving my very capable 12 year old god-daughter in charge at their side. While I was away, Jack wanted to move past Lucy from the front of the bath to the back, in doing so he knocked Lucy over and she was totally submerged. Drowning is such a quick killer and every mother knows just how quickly death can come by drowning so both my god-daughter and I were on full life-or-death alert. My god-daughter shouted, “JAaAck!” and immediately grabbed Lucy and took her out of the water onto the bath mat whilst shouting for me. Upon seeing his sister coming out of the water Jack started screaming and this was when I cam running in. I grabbed a towel to cover Lucy and held her over my shoulder, thumping her on the back while she regained her wits and breath. She was fine but she’d had a real fright and her loss of breath was more due to the panic than the inhalation of water. However Jack was distraught at the fact that he had caused his sister harm and had tears streaming own his little face. Whilst holding Lucy I held his hand and told him,
“Jack, it was just a mistake my boy, Lucy is fine, look, she’s really OK. Don’t worry jack, it’s alright my darling.” He quieted down but was still visibly sad. I turned to my god-daughter and thanked her for being so vigilant and told her she had done a good job. Then Jack said that he had finished his bath and wanted out. I heard him and told him to jump out and come and give us a cuddle. I wrapped him in a towel and he came to Lucy and I. Upon me squeezing him he burst out crying again saying that he was so sorry and he didn’t mean it. He was so upset and it broke my heart and I held him close. Here, something made me think. Obviously I went through blaming myself. The bath was too full, I shouldn’t have left my god-daughter in charge. These things happen though, it was a freezing night and a shallow bath would have left them with an awful skin chill during bath-time. I feel my god-daughter is even more capable now than before after seeing her handle this situation so well and would certainly leave her with my children again, her age is not why this happened.
I realised something far more poignant. Sometimes kids need to be shown forgiveness rather than just being told that they are forgiven. Jack was aware that he had made a mistake and he had said sorry immediately. I had told him that everything was alright but he needed a more solid form of reassurance and forgiveness from me . His second outburst when he came to cuddle us clearly showed me that he was still very heart-sore over what had happened and was still blaming himself for hurting his sister. I am so glad that he didn’t go to bed with a chest full of sorrow and guilt but rather cried it out and vented his feelings while I was cuddling him. I watched him as he fell asleep later on that night and saw a child drift away at total peace with himself. He slept silently through the night and gave his sister a big kiss and a cuddle when he saw her this morning. I remember how much I adored my little brother when I was younger and I still do but when they are little it is such a beautiful, innocent yet massively powerful thing. Long may it last.