30 June 2010

Gratitude for the YMCA

Each year, during spring break, our local YMCAs offer a special program. It is a week of daily swimming lessons open to anyone in the community, for free. For the past few years, I have taken advantage of this opportunity and signed my kids up. Generally, this is the only time they have had in a pool, with the exception of the occasional visit to a hotel or someone's house with a pool. Everything they know about swimming they have learned through these Splash Weeks, as they are called. Not only have they learned how to swim, they have also been taught water safety and have built up their confidence when in the water. It is important to note that they are still not strong swimmers, but they know the basics and can hold their own in a pool. I have always been grateful for this great opportunity that the YMCA offers, but more so after an incident that happened this past Monday evening.

As you may remember, I am currently in an isolation unit at a hospital, so I was not at this event, but what I will share is a compilation of what I have been told by several of the people who were there:
I have an uncle who is up from Georgia, visiting the family here in NY. Another uncle decided to host a BBQ/Pool Party at his home on Monday so that the visiting uncle could see a bunch of family at once. My husband packed up the kids and their swim gear and went to the party. At some point, my oldest 2 girls were the only people in the pool and my 5 year old nephew was walking near the shallow end, but it was believed he was done swimming for the day. Another uncle arrived and the adults, including those who had been near the pool, went to the driveway to greet him. During that time, my nephew apparently decided he was not done swimming and he re-entered the water. At some point, my daughter saw something blue in the bottom of the pool and thought it was just the pool liner. It took her a few seconds to realize it was in fact, my nephew. He had passed the part of the pool that separated the shallow end from the deep end and it was a sudden drop so he could not get back to the shallow end on his own. We do not know how long he was underwater, but my brave girls swam down and hooked their arms through his and pulled him to the shallow end where he was able to get his head above water. At this point, some of the adults had returned and they immediately got my nephew out of the water. He was conscious, but very visibly shaken and coughing up the water he had taken in.

I am extremely proud of my girls' quick thinking and brave actions. I firmly believe that they reacted the way they did only because the YMCA had helped instill that confidence in the water that they needed in order to swim down to reach my nephew. It is because of this, that I am extremely grateful for the YMCA.

***Please note- I was not at this function and therefore do not know all the details as to why the kids were unsupervised in the pool. Knowing my family the way I do, it was not intentional and they have all expressed feelings of guilt. They all are aware of how bad this day could have ended and you can be assured a lesson was learned by all. You are all entitled to your opinions, but please withhold judging the adults as you, like myself, were not there.***

24 June 2010


I have found a new thing to love...Skype. I first heard about Skype for internet based phone calls years ago, but never thought much of it. Then they started with video calls and I was not sure it would work for us. However, when I decided to enter this vaccine study which would keep me away from my kids for 12 days, I suddenly realized it had so many more applications in my life. I have been here in isolation since Monday and have used Skype to see my kids several times already. I know it is also commonly used by deployed servicemen (and women) to connect with their families. What a comfort that must bring to both them and their loved ones. My in-laws have been enjoying using it to see the grandkids and the kids love seeing their grandparents as well. They live 3000 miles away from us and the little ones grow so fast, it is nice for them to be able to watch as they grow, even from such a distance. I know of others who have used Skype to keep in touch with children who are traveling or studying abroad. The best part of Skype is it is FREE!!! No more paying for long distance or international calls! There is even a feature to call people on their home phones rather than computer-to-computer. That feature does cost money to use, but it is a reasonable 2.1 cents a minute or $1.09 a month. You can not find long distance, and especially not international rates, that low anywhere.

Now, Skype does have some potential downsides, but I expect that as technology improves, so will this great service. In order to see each other, you will both need a web cam. It is possible though for just one of you to have a web cam, but the one with the web cam will not be able to see who they are talking to. You can also make computer-to-computer calls without a camera through Skype and it works similarly to a chat. Oh, and you can conference others in on your calls as well. Another drawback is that unless you have a high quality web cam and microphone, your images can be distorted and your voice may be broken up. This can also happen if your computer or your internet connection is too slow. However, the way I see it, a grainy picture is better than no picture. Eventually, as money allows, I hope to upgrade all aspects of our computer so that we can share high quality video conversations. It will never beat face-to-face interactions, but it probably the closest we can get from 3000 miles away. I love Skype.

21 June 2010

Time for Mom

With 4 little ones, it can be difficult to find time for myself. However, in order to be the best mother I can be, I need to remember to take care of me too. If I am not at my best, I cannot give my best. Over the past several months, I have failed to take care of me and I could feel it mentally and physically. I recently had the opportunity arise to participate in a 12-day isolation research study. The fact that it pays well and that it would give me the time and opportunity to do all those little things I have been wanting to do, but been unable to find the time for; made it an easy decision to participate. My husband recently lost his job so he is taking this opportunity to bond with the kids and get some projects done around the house. I checked in this evening for the study and am looking forward to this chance to pamper myself and rediscover my inner self. I love getting some time for me.