Rip tides strike again off the NJ shore. Every time I read a story about something like this I thank God for my mother.
When I was nine or ten a friend and I went to the Virginia Beach oceanfront with my mother. We went to the section away from the crowds, where we always went.
We always stayed close to shore. Where the waves were waist high. We jumped the cresting waves or body surfed into shore. Mom swam with us. We had a blast.
The ocean was rough that day. Mom told us to stay closer than usual. We thought we were close enough. Mom caught a wave into shore. My friend and I jumped over it. When we came down we were caught in the current. Waves splashed over our heads. In seconds our feet couldn’t touch bottom.
My friend began to panic. I grabbed at her and tried to tell her to swim with me, parallel to the beach like my parents had taught us. She didn’t fight, but she was scared. So was I. I could barely keep my head above water. I kicked and struggled. My friend got so heavy so fast.
Then my mom was there. Cutting through the water toward us with strong strokes. She said something like, “come with me.” Then she took my arms and wrapped them around her. I held on to her and my friend held on to me and my mother pulled us all to safety.
Safely out of the current, we swam to the beach. Crawling the across the wet sand. Collapsing on the dry sand.
My mother saved our lives that day.
Then, to top it off, on the way home we stopped to get Slurpees. Near death experiences should always be capped with sugary drinks.