I didn’t see it coming. A giant wave came and pummeled me. Within seconds I was submerged in the sweet white bubbled saltwater. Hearing instantly muted. Waves pulling me this way and that, tugging at my arms and legs trying to rip me apart at the seams. I remember my head colliding with the rocks on the ocean floor and looking up. Disoriented. Free from gravities hold, suffocating in the in between. I remember the blurry world just about the surface. My eyes widened by how far it seemed from the bottom. I became frantic. I remember the sting in my nose and the burn in my throat as I desperately tried to breathe. I remember the drowning.
Then all at once I felt hands grab me. And just like that the swooshing stopped. The weight on my little lungs lifted. I was in mommy’s arms wrapped in a towel. I was rescued. Curled, safely tucked into her. Hiccupping cries replaced my blurry ocean eyes with my own salt. Crying hard and loud as the water drained from my ears. Then, I remembered. My headband! My favorite, I wore it everywhere. A fake plastic pearl headband. I can still remember what it feels like to this day if I close my eyes and run my fingers along my hairline. I loved that headband. The waves took it form me.
“My, my headband!” I choked out through tears.
“Your headband?” she asked, “Oh sweetie” laughing lightly.
I nodded my head into her chest.
“Well,” her pause squeezed me tighter, “You know, now some lucky crab is running off to show her friends her new headband?”
This idea caught my attention, “A crab?”
“Yes, a once ugly crab has your headband and now she is a princess.”
Wide eyed, “Really?”
She sat down with me on the colorful beach towel explaining in detail the crab and her friends. Talking with her hands about how the headband made the crab happy because it made her a princess. She explained this to me while rubbing me dry, kissing my forehead in between sentences and smoothing back my salt-slicked hair.
This is what mothers are for I thought to myself in that tiny little moment. I smiled quietly against her chest because everything was good again. Because she made me feel safe. Because that’s what mothers do. They kiss you and make everything better and call you things like, “sweetie” and “angel.”
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