When I was 11 I nearly drowned. I don't remember which beach, I just remember there being a river that ran under a bridge and out to meet the ocean.
I waded into the dark water, shaded by the bridge. The current was fairly swift and toward the middle there was a vortex, a whirlpool of some kind, swirling around debris. A tree trunk perhaps. Or some rocks.
I wasn't afraid. I was a strong swimmer and enjoyed the big waves at Malibu. I wanted to float down the river and out to sea, Huck Finn style. But Dad had warned me against swimming here. Still, I thought I could handle it.
Things were going fine, until I hit the middle of the river. I had underestimated the strength of the whirlpool. I was being sucked in and sucked down. I struggled against it, but I was being spun too quickly. When my head broke the surface, I screamed.
No-one heard me. My Mom was farther down the beach with my sister. Dad was out surfing. I was alone. I went under again.
My lungs screamed for air while my mind screamed in panic.
And then, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the river released me. I floated easily to the surface. Panting and sobbing, I pulled myself up the sandy bank. Everything was eerily peaceful.
The sun sparkled on the river as it ran out to meet the sea. Children screeched and laughed near the ocean's edge. Sea-gulls soared above. Somebody was grilling hot dogs. A perfectly calm, beautiful day.
When people ask me how it's going adjusting to twins, I think of that whirpool. Right now, the current has hold of me. I'm in that vortex, swirling. Mothering twins has brought me to a very low, unpretentious place. I am human, I am not strong, I am not perfect. And I am so, so very tired.
I used to pride myself on being able to pull it all together. On time. With lipstick.
When I was 11, I didn't tell anyone that I had almost drowned. But now, at 30, I've stopped pretending. There's no shame in asking for help. When you ask for help, you open yourself to love. Placing my frailty in the context of my faith makes me grateful that Christ didn't wait until us humans were perfect. While we were yet sinning, Christ died...
It's OK to admit I need help. It doesn't mean I have weak faith or that I'm a bad mom.
It does mean I'm like most moms: not super, just mom. Still human in need of a Savior.
So, I have asked for help. And help has come running. Friends, neighbors, people I barely know have stepped into the chasm of my frailty and offered their hand. I'm holding on now and I know I'm going to be OK.
I'm not going to drown.