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Today Quinn almost drowned. And I almost physically ripped off someone's head. I am not sorry. And they will now endure my wrath.

Note to self: Do not discount general distrust of all other humans in any type of care role for your child. You're right. Everyone sucks and your child's life really IS in danger when you let your guard down.

I left work early today so I could see the last half of the kids' first joint swimming lesson. Turns out it's a good damn thing I did. When I arrived at the Y where John has been taking the kids while he works out, I told the girl at the front desk that my kids were in a swimming class, and I needed to know where the pool was. "Oh, we don't have a pool here," she said, looking at me with an expression of fake alarm and confusion. I was not amused. John's been coming there for months and Bryce was in a beginner swim class last year - I wasn't asking IF they had a pool, I was asking for her to tell me where it was, and frankly, I was waiting for her to demand that I show an ID, a membership card, any proof at all that I was who I said I was. Instead, she said, "just kidding! I was just trying to freak you out! It's right through the double doors there." I said nothing and gave a suspicious yet patient grin - I was still giving her the benefit of the doubt, assuming that she was working in a professional environment, that I had merely witnessed an anomaly, that she had been trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to make me feel at home (if "home" were a place where everyone feels insecure and on the verge of a nervous breakdown as a matter of course - but hey, to each his own, right?).

As I walked through the double doors to which the sarcastic front desk girl had directed me, I immediately caught sight of Bryce's wet, smiling face at the closest corner of the olympic-sized pool. The shorter blonder head next to it was Quinn's, I could tell because of how closely they were staying to each other. I decided to stand outside the pool room and watch from there, thinking that if they saw me, their distraction would take away from their swim lesson experience. Over the next few seconds, I realized their swim lesson experience left an unfortunate amount to be desired - they seemed so closely positioned to one another because the other three pre-schoolers in their class were crowded around the instructor, who wasn't even looking at my kids. Are they even in that class? I wondered what was going on, but kept watching. I noticed how much Quinn's fuzzy blonde head kept bobbing, but assumed he was standing on some sort of support, because surely they wouldn't put a three-year-old with no swimming experience in a pool virtually unsupervised if they hadn't placed some sort of extra steps or stool there to support him while the instructor focused intently on the other kids in her care. I saw Bryce giggle while looking at the bobbing head, and knew Quinn was (in Bryce's mind) going under water for laughs. I decided to step inside, seeing as how BOTH the instructor that was standing in the water three feet away AND the lifeguard standing RIGHT OVER MY KIDS at the corner of the pool had not looked their direction ONE SINGLE TIME while I'd been standing there.

As I reached to open the glass doors two inches away from my hand, I saw Bryce's expression change to one of fear and concern; I saw the hand of his that wasn't holding the side of the pool for safety reach out toward what had been Quinn's head, and was now the flesh colored bubbles that appear when a kid is right under the surface fighting for breath; I saw through the blood boiling up behind my eyes that the instructor and the lifeguard were still staring at the same unchanging sights they'd been focused on the entire time I'd stood idly behind the glass doors that now seemed impossibly heavy and constantly in my way, goddammit; I saw in slow motion that my three-year-old's body was flailing in futility on its sinking back and sucking in water with every panicked move; I saw the instructor come out of her coma of mediocrity and poor training and finally notice the four-year-old trying to save his drowning brother; I saw the confused look on her face when she moved the three feet over to lift Quinn's convulsing body out of the water; and I saw myself screaming at her and grabbing my child, only staying in the area of the pool because my other child was still in the water.

The silence initially caused by the blood beating in my head now crashed to a thunderous, deafening scream while I lashed out at the teenagers that had just encountered the mom from hell they never knew would exist in their happy worlds. "Ma'am, did he take in water?" the lifeguard asked me, but only until my animal-like shrieks stopped him dead in his tracks with, "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU IDIOT? YES HE TOOK IN WATER THAT'S WHY HE'S COUGHING AND CHOKING RIGHT NOW! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH YOU PEOPLE?" "Ma'am, I didn't see him. I was scanning the pool." "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT????? YOU WERE 'SCANNING THE POOL'? I DON'T GIVE A CRAP WHAT YOU WERE DOING - MY KID WAS LITERALLY RIGHT UNDER YOU AND HE ALMOST DROWNED; HE WAS FLAILING UNDER THE WATER FOR AT LEAST 12 SECONDS BEFORE I COULD GET IN HERE - THE FOUR YEAR OLD HAD TO ALERT THE INSTRUCTOR, WHO HAD TO ALERT YOOOOOOUUUUUUUU!!!!" "I was scanning the pool, ma'am." "THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE. IT'S YOUR JOB TO MAKE SURE NO ONE DROWNS. DON'T COME OVER HERE AND MAKE EXCUSES!" Five minutes later, after the class was over while I was drying off the kids, the instructor came up to me and said she was sorry. I told her this was the first time I'd been here, and in the first 45 seconds, I'd witnessed my child almost drown right under a lifeguard, and three feet away from the instructor, and oh, by the way, my kids shouldn't have been so separated from the rest of the class in the first place. She said, "yeah, well, I told them to stop climbing around on everything, but they wouldn't." And then the demon that lives inside my chest used its bone-tearing claws to rip through my exploded heart, leap out, and maim her I used all of my restraint to keep from screaming at her (but that doesn't mean my eyes weren't bulging out of my head and my fangs weren't flashing) while I said, "well, you know, that's what kids do - and if you're going to offer a class for young children, I suggest you find a safe way of dealing with them, or maybe, I dunno, GET MORE LIFEGUARDS IN HERE."

Quinn is okay, but he wouldn't get back in the water, even though he said he wanted to. He was so excited to take this class; it's all he's been talking about for days. I am furious. The "aquatic director" is supposed to call me tomorrow, but we've already decided we won't be going back. To me, this is not fixable. This is not forgiveable or forgettable. How long would he have flailed under water if Bryce, the four-year-old, hadn't caught the instructor's attention, if I hadn't run in screaming? And what kind of program is certifying people to be lifeguards but not training them in how to deal with parents who witness a mistake like this? I got constant excuses and justifications, THEN I got apologies. Seems to me like Lifeguard 101 would teach you that in the off chance that you screw up and someone almost dies or suffers life-long brain damage as a result, you just apologize and shut the hell up, not come up with reasons why it's not your fault, you spineless turds.