Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How Uncle Clint became Jack & Wil's hero

This guest blog comes from a girl that I grew up with. Her brother Clint is a few years younger than me. He has Down's Syndrome. He is one of the happiest young men you will ever meet. He stands up in front of church and recites whole passages of scripture. When I was younger, I remember going over to their house to work with him and paint with her. I know I was supposed to feel like I was helping with Clint, but the reality was that it was meant to help me. Growing up with Clint was my first experience with someone who had special needs, the Lord knew that I would have many more to come. Enjoy this story about Clint becoming a hero.

This last summer, it was finally family vacation and we were heading up to Northern Michigan. My husband, Aaron, and I invited my Dad, Mom, and brother Clint (born with DS, 27) to come up and share a few days with us at the resort. We were all excited! The morning Dad, Mom, and Clint came up was a little cool, but the weather-man promised sun and warmer temps by afternoon. Dad and Aaron, went out to the golf course; while Mom, Clint, the boys and I relaxed in our condo until it was warm enough for a swim. After much pestering, we decided it was warm enough for Clint and the boys to swim (Mom & I would just drink coffee and talk pool side).

 Jack (just 5) and Wil (3) had already had a few swims in the "family" pool and were very used to enjoying summer fun in the pool with life jackets. Aaron, a certified lifeguard, had been giving our boys a few private lessons, and although Jack was close to swimming, he still lacked confidence. So once we got down to the pool; yes, we were the only crazy Michiganders there, as usual I gave both boys a lecture about being careful and keeping on their life jackets; then the boys and Uncle Clint waded in. (Brrr!) They squealed with delight, and I'm sure a little buzz from the weather; and then swam the morning away.

 Once Mom and I decided that they should probably all go back for warm showers and lunch, I called the boys out of the pool for me to help them dry off. Jack was first to me, because being first is more a matter of speed and brotherly competition, than just obedience. I got his jacket off, wrapped him in a towel and said, as I was beginning to wrestle Wil's jacket off, that we'd use the bathhouse restrooms before walking back... (SPLASH!!!) My eyes darted towards the sound and my heart sunk as I knew that my daredevil, rambunctious, first-born son had just jumped in to splash Uncle Clint in the "deep" 5' section of the pool! I knew exactly what had happened, the thought crossed him that it would be funny to startle Uncle Clint who was floating with pool noodles. Adrenaline and testosterone kicked in and that boy never even thought about the now absent life jacket that lay at his feet. I jumped up and my eyes met Clint's (who was startled at whatever had just splashed him) I loudly, and somewhat calmly said- "Pick him up!... Pick him UP!" Just like that, Clint reached over and grabbed Jack's flailing arm and lifted him by that one arm out of the water (like- "what? you want this?"). Jack was gasping and sputtering as he had taken in a little water on his bob under and back up. But Uncle Clint reacted very quickly, despite the shock of the situation, and truthfully, I almost felt like Jack deserved a little more of a dunking after the first second of the scare that is sure to give me gray hair early!
As I pulled Jack up into my arms and started to pat him down with a towel again. He was crying from the scare, and gasping a little as he turned and looked at Uncle Clint and said, "Uncle Clint... you saved my life! You ... are a hero! You saved my life!" (Precious for me, Clint's sister, to hear Clint's swift response so genuinely affirmed) I assured Jack that he was right and went into a long diatribe of possibilities from such a thoughtless action to further ingrain what a scary situation that could have been- if, Uncle Clint had not been right there to save the day. For the rest of that day and the rest of the summer, my boys were very quick to tell others' of the day that Uncle Clint became a hero.

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