And Here I Thought Being Childfree Was The Opposite Of Parenting…
I had forgotten all about this for a long time, but was reminded of it recently. So I have to share.
Every summer, while visiting my grandparents, my family went to this lovely beach on a lake. The lake was weird. Past the waterline, the ground disappeared fast. You wouldn’t have to be very far from shore before the water got pretty deep. The beach was private and had no life guard. Everyone was expected to mind their own safety.
I wasn’t a great swimmer (I could barely doggy paddle) as a kid (not much better now,) but enjoyed relaxing as I floated around on an inner tube. I wasn’t the only kid to do that.
Anyway, I was floating around when a group of much younger and smaller kids (no older than about five or so) floated vaguely my way. I didn’t think much of it, until one slipped off his boogie board and disappeared under the water. I watched little hands frantically splashing at the surface of the water, but no head surfaced. The other kids watched in shock.
It would have taken too long to paddle over on my floatie (and it wasn’t a very good floatie and could barely support me, anyway) so I jumped off to help. I thought, since I was taller, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. But like I said, the water level was deceptive and I was in too deep as well.
I lifted the kid high enough to get his head out of the water so he could breathe, and held my breath as I walked (slowly) below the water until I reached water shallow enough for my head to clear the surface. As the drop off was somewhat steep, as I said, I didn’t have to go very far.
The kid was shaken up, but otherwise OK. It occurred to me that this kid could have drowned. Hell, I could have drowned just trying to help him. There could be dead kids floating in the water. And no one seems to have noticed the crisis that was just averted could have just happened at all.
There were no parents around to help him. Even now that we were on shore, no one rushed over to check on their baby. I asked him to take me to his parents. Not only were they not in the water watching their little kid who, obviously could not swim, they were nowhere even near the water. The oblivious idiots were drinking on a blanket about as far away from anything as they could get and still be on the beach property. And it wasn’t as if their kids just wandered off (and if they did, shouldn’t the parents be looking for them?) the parents (and I use that term very loosely) knew full well that the kids were off in the lake where there was no lifeguard.
Oh, I hope they felt the guilt when I told them their kid could have drowned if a 13 year old hadn’t just done their job for them. But maybe that was exactly what they were hoping for, a retroactive “abortion.” And then they’d act distraught and claim, “I only looked away for a minute!” Or maybe their thought was an area full of people (complete strangers) meant free babysitting.
Either way, they’re irresponsible fucking idiots who should not have bred. I find it amazing that I can yet be called a “child-hater” for not having any of my own, even as morons like these neglect theirs.
Although I am not a fan of the word “breeder,” I am most familiar with its use as referring to people who do not deserve the title of parent. It’s used to distinguish good parents from bad ones, so as not to generalize all parents. I do recognize that there is a world of difference between just having kids and actually being a parent. The word parent, I think, should also be treated as a verb.