the swimming pool

Several years ago, when our kids were elementary-aged, we took a trip to go see my Aunt & Uncle, and did some touring of the area where they lived. We stayed several days at their home, and used it as “home base” from which to explore. It was a really wonderful family trip! And getting to spend time with them was pretty great, too! My aunt holds a special place in my heart, because she is my mother‘s older sister – and just about the only remaining link I have to her. My uncle has always been very kind, but also wise and considerate as well. He loves my kids as his own grandkids. They spoiled us pretty good while we were there. And just about every night we were there, we spent time swimming in their back yard pool. It was delightful! I remember that pool with a lot of detail – which is kind of unusual for me. But I think it’s because I have an emotional attachment to it.

My wife and I had the opportunity to go back for a quick visit recently – and for a really special reason! My three cousins (their daughters), were hosting a 60th Anniversary celebration for their parents. Yes – they’ve been married for Sixty years! What’s also pretty awesome is that my cousins have all been married for several decades as well. It’s quite the legacy of love and faithfulness! So of course, my wife and I were honored to get to be part of that celebration. After the festivities were over, several of us went to my Aunt & Uncle’s house to just hang out and catch up a while. I savored every moment!

But, I had mixed emotions when I looked out the back kitchen window and realized the pool was gone! In its place were some ornamental bushes and flowers, and even a small tree. Apparently the upkeep of the pool was more expense than my uncle wanted to deal with, so they just filled it in!

I reached out to my daughter recently to ask if she remembered the pool – and of course she did! We had a lot of fun together in that pool. She and I, specifically, also had another very specific, hard to forget experience!

After swimming one evening (I think it might’ve been our final night there), my daughter’s eyes were pretty bloodshot. She had been swimming with her eyes open for at least some of the time, and the result was obvious. She asked me to put some eyedrops in her eyes, so we went to the guest bathroom and I grabbed the dropper and carefully administered a drop of solution into her first eye…. AND SHE STARTED SCREAMING!!! I was startled – scared even! What was going on??How could eyedrops create such a response???

In a flash, realization and horror overtook me! I looked in my hand, and that quickly confirmed what I’d done. In preparation for the trip, we had packed eye drops, and we also packed “ear dry”. I’d just put what was mostly rubbing alcohol directly into my daughter’s eye!!

I quickly rushed her to the sink and splashed water in her face and eye repeatedly while she continued to scream and then began crying. I started crying, too! My daughter was in SO much pain, and it was my fault!! Her crying quieted after a few minutes, and I was able to check her eye – which, as you can imagine, was now even more bloodshot. Her vision seemed to be okay. But I was concerned that the damage might not yet be known. I checked the internet to see what else I needed to do. Would she lose her sight? Could she lose her eye? Apparently, there was some risk of eye damage, but if it hadn’t already occurred, she was probably safe. So then, with great relief, I got the actual eye drops and administered a healthy dose to each of her eyes. Of course, I also apologized over and over and over, while she whimpered and sniffled. I could not believe I’d done that to my own child! But she was pretty gracious about it, and we were able to continue and enjoy the rest of our time together.

A few weeks later, maybe less, we went for a swim at a pool that was part of the apartment complex where we were renting (half of) a duplex at the time. After swimming, my daughter’s eyes were very red again, and she was so sweet to let me administer her eye drops.

Would you believe, once again I grabbed the wrong solution!!?? Yes. I really did. Once again, she was screaming, and I was crying, and OH so angry at myself! How could I do it again!!?? I knew just what to do, of course, as did she. We made it through, and she once again forgave me. And then we made sure the two solutions were in totally separate spaces, so it would be much more difficult to get them mixed up ever again!

There are very few parents who ever intend to harm their children. Research supports this. Most parents are truly doing the best they can with the circumstances they’ve been given. There are exceptions, of course. But ugh…to accidentally inflict the same harm twice to my daughter was so very excruciating for her and humiliating for me!

“It could happen to anyone” – I know – and people do things that unintentionally hurt others – even those whom they dearly love. This particular story is one that I’ll never forget, and of course don’t ever want to repeat (again)! My daughter and I can chuckle a little about it now, but OH how awful it was! Both times!!

So, yeah…parents, please let me be your example of what not to do, and watch out for the eye drops and the ear drops!

But also, be kind to yourself. We’re doing the best we can.

How about you? Ever done something unintentional like this? Ever manage to do the same exact thing twice?

9 thoughts on “the swimming pool

  1. Willow

    Not me, but my brother — who as a teenager at the time — once picked my kid, who was about five at the time, up by her hands and swung her around (like you do) and accidentally dislocated her elbow.

    She couldn’t tell me what was wrong, only that her elbow hurt. Since I couldn’t see that her elbow was dislocated and everything moved as it should, I didn’t really know what happened for a while.

    We took her to urgent care after a while because she just kept saying her elbow hurt even though we couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

    Oh, the looks I got from the nurses. Like, I didn’t know! How could I know? I mean, it looked normal and moved like it should. They popped it back in place and she was good as new.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LA

    My cat had an eye infection and needed drops that would dilate the pupils. I had pink eye. You know I used the wrong drops because the containers looked similar…

    Liked by 1 person


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