Jul 5, 2012

My Fear Propels Me to Pay It Forward

July 5--Talk about a fear you have

Back in 1986, we lived in what was a sleepy little beach town in South Florida called Lake Worth. The "Lake" part of it came from an inlet from the Atlantic Ocean that formed a large lagoon protected by a barrier island that became known as Palm Beach. The "Worth" part of it came from the same "Worth" as Fort Worth. -- a general in the US army during the mid-1800s.

About the only use for the lagoon is that it is now part of the Intracoastal Waterway, and it is used by boaters for skiing and as passageway to the ocean.

Barracuda are attracted to shiny objectss
My husband and I, BK (before kids) would often cross the bridge over the lake to access a public beach on the Atlantic. There, in the quite of the early morning, we enjoyed an hour of snorkling, observing fish and invertebrates such as sand dollars and conchs. We learned early on to not wear any jewelry, including wedding bands, because the shiny objects attracted barracuda. Seeing a couple of them swimming together made my heart freeze. The thought of those rows of pointy teeth made me want to be invivisble.

A long fishing pier had been built at the beach, and it attracted surfers that liked the breakers that develped there. I understand that part of the pier was heavily damaged (washed away) from a couple of hurricanes in the early 2000s, but it has since been rebuilt.

Beach-goers near Lake Worth pier.
AK (after kids), it was only natural that we introduce our children to the ocean we loved. My first experience with a baby on the beach was slightly traumatic. My friend and I took a beach umbrella and all the paraphenalia to protect my darling from the sun---towels, hat, sunscreen, long-sleeved shirt. Colin napped on the towel in the shade for a bit. When he woke up, we learned that sand sticks to sunscreen, and he shortly was covered in sand. He protested loudly enough that I decided to carry him up the beach to a shower to rinse off the sand.

Being a little Irishman, his skin was very white. When he cried, he would turn bright red. So, here I was, carrying this red, bawling infant up the beach, and we became the object of derision. "Cover that baby up! Look at how sunburned he is." "We should have you arrested for child abuse." Back at the umbrella, I told my friend to pack it up, we were getting out of there.

It took me several months to get up the courage to take him back to the beach. By then he was toddling around. He loved it. He would dig in the sand with his little shovel and pail, and we would play in the warm ocean waves. Soon I was pregnant with Molly, but we continued to frequent the beach.

Surfers near Lake Worth Pier
One morning, Colin and I (now heavily pregnant) were bouncing around the surf near the pier. It felt so good to me to get in the buoyant water to take the weight of a heavy baby off my back.(She ended up being 9' 14"!) He was floating in one of those inflatable rings, and I was holding his hand. Suddenly, an undertow sucked him out of the ring, and he disappeared under the water. Screaming, I tried to run after him, but my pregnant belly would not break through the water very fast. I yelled at some nearby surfers, "My baby, my baby, look for my baby!"

Frantically, I plodded further out into the water and still he was nowhere to be seen. What seemed like several minutes was probably only several seconds. Suddenly, released from the pull of the undertow, he popped up not far from me. He had a dazed and confused look on his face and was otherwise unharmed.

I will never forget those horrifying moments when my child was ripped away from me and there was nothing I could do about it. That is my greatest fear---not being able to protect my children. Now, they are grown, and since they live away from home, I'm not privy to their activities. It has been hard adjusting to not being there every step of the way. I know this is normal, but I still retain the fear from that lifechanging  moment when my child was lost.

So many mothers lose their children. I was a fortunate one that regained the life of my baby. Recently, a group of crocheters on Facebook formed a community that sews memory blankets for parents who have lost a child through illness or other tragedy. We each crochet 6 inch squares that one of the members will sew together to form the blanket. It is then sent to the family along with notes and cards from the crocheters that helped created the blanket.

One of the memory blankets being created
Within a month, the group has grown to over 300 members, and we have made blankets for almost 10 families. If you are interested in joining this group, it can be found at Wrapped In Love. We would love to have you.


  1. I wish my crocheting skills were better! I would love to participate in Wrapped in Love. Sounds like it has such a meaningful purpose and caring group of people.

    1. If you will notice, there are many simple granny squares that are designed for the novice crocheter. If you like, I will connect you to a pattern that teaches how to crochet one.

  2. Wow. Such memories of your little guy!! I only had one pregnant beach experience... and it wasn't a "real" beach... only a water park wave pool. (My other children were winter and spring babies!)

    I am playing catch up on commenting and I enjoy reading yours today!

    This is my blog with my SBC posts on it.

    1. Thank you, Julie. Your comments are encouraging to a writer trying to fly. I will definitely read your post.


I would love to hear from you!