Saturday, September 17, 2011

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes

Recently I was reminded how a simple act of courage can change me.

Labor Day weekend we were enjoying the day on the lake boating and skiing at lake of the Pines like I've done most Labor Day weekends since I was a child. The kids all went wakeboarding with their Uncle as I relaxed on the hammock on shore. The boat returned a short time later with a sense of panic and confusion and I was immediately summons to the dock to learn that my son, Gavin, had been run over by a boat! As I made my way to the dock I saw Gavin in his Mother's arms and all in one piece so my heart settled knowing that whatever had happened he was going to be okay. In the following stressful, foggy, emotional moments I learned the driver of the other boat had not been paying attention, came up behind Gavin after he had fallen while wakeboarding and with seconds to spare, noticed him in the water, shut off the engine then the boat went straight over Gavin. From the ski boat that Gavin was being pulled, his cousins and Uncle all saw him go under the boat, not knowing what was going to come out the other end. Their answer was not immediately provided as Gavin's wakeboard became caught between the propeller and rudder and he was dragged beneath the boat for a short period. After a few moments of being trapped under the boat he managed to just barely pull his head up at the back of the boat so he could get air with his legs still in the board stuck under the boat . When his Uncle jumped in to the water to help him he had no idea what Gavin's situation was and what was holding his legs under the boat. He pulled him free to find everything was intact and Gavin was going to be okay.

As a parent I wish I was there for him and could have helped him in any way possible but selfishly I'm almost glad I didn't see my Son being run over by a boat, not knowing what the outcome would be.

It was a difficult afternoon. All the kids that were in the boat were shaken up and our family definitely had one of those moments that make you realize what is really important.

The following morning we got up and pulled out the boat just like we have done every morning since I was a kid. I purposefully chose to be the driver on this morning. There was a tension in the air amongst the kids but the lake was quiet and not a lot of boats were out. The kids all took their turns and skied that morning while Gavin sat quietly bundled up in the bow of the boat. When everyone else had gone I asked him if he wanted a turn. He said Yes. I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to wakeboard. He asked that I come to the back of the boat with him while he got ready. He was shaking as he put on his board! Then he said, "I want to." Nobody else heard him say that....he just said it to me. Then he went out and skied around the lake just like he had done 100 times before. Later he and I talked about it and I tried to make him realized what he had done. Every kid in that boat saw Gavin get run over and was scared to death. That morning they all were looking over their shoulders for other boats and were not comfortable out there. But then Gavin went out and showed them it was going to be okay and he showed no fear to anyone but me as he unselfishly helped us all past that horrible feeling we experienced the day before.

He didn't want to go back out there that morning but he did what all heroes do.....and he did it for all of us more than he did it for himself and because he did we all were able to return to normal. He never asked for pity or even wanted anyone to know what happened. In fact, I had to get his special permission to be able to write this blog. I assured him nobody reads my blog.