On June 10, 1991 Robert James Hightower II was born, It was the second happiest day of my life second only to my wedding day to his Mother.
This event changed my life forever. Unfortunately in time my spouse decided she no longer wanted to be married to me. My little boy and I had to part, only getting to see each other every other weekend. There are no words to explain the devastation of an event of this magnitude.
The LakeOne day, my son and I decided we would go fishing at a nearby lake on a beautiful Saturday morning on a brisk spring day. We got to the lake early and proceeded to put the boat in the lake. These were the kind of days that create memories and bonds for a lifetime. We proceeded to load the boat into the water and I went back to the car to get the fishing poles. Robby was about 5 at the time so I took him with me in fear of him falling off of the dock.
We got all of the fishing equipment and our life jackets and the cooler that had our tasty lunch in it, along with our drinks. I could just picture the day in my mind in hopes that it would never end. We both went out onto the dock and I contemplated, do I put his life jacket on first or load the boat first. I saw him skipping rocks on the water so I decided to load the boat first.
I was just finishing up when I heard the splash. I turned and looked quickly expecting to see Robby safely standing there, but I did not see him anywhere. I jumped up onto the dock to see the rippling water of where he had fallen and without hesitation dove in to save my son. I searched and searched but to no avail. I came up for a breath hoping to see him above water now wondering how I could find him in the murky water.
During this 30 seconds, my mind raced over and over "Why did I not put his life jacket on first?" "Why was I not more responsible?" Thoughts raced through my mind as I searched under the water remembering his birth, his first birthday, his third birthday, and the divorce, all these things raced through my mind for what seemed an eternity. I finally decided to go all the way to the bottom and feel around, not coming up until I found him.
Finally, there on the bottom he was, his arms wrapped around the wooden poll that holds up the dock, with a grip so tight, I had to pry him away. I brought him to the surface and put him on the bank. Both of us coughing and spitting out water from our lungs, I just hugged him and was thankful to the Lord above that I had found him in time. So many thoughts raced through my mind once again as he lay there. All of the times we had been to the lake, all of the Christmases, all of the Fridays I would pick him up with a giant hug and the anxiety I always felt until I heard those words. "I love you Dad". Nothing I thought could ever make me love or respect him more than what I did until his next words to me, which changed my life once again forever.
When things finally calmed down as I was on my hands and knees above him, my eyes looking into his eyes, I asked one simple question. "Robby, why were you holding on to that pole on the bottom of the lake"? He looked at me with the most innocent and loving eyes and simply replied, "I was waiting for you daddy, I knew you would come to save me".
I thought that I could not be any prouder or any more mad at the same time and I just told him "I sure do love you sweetheart" he replied "I love you too dad".There is no amount of money or cars or jobs or any material thing that could replace being loved and loving someone so much. I thank God above for giving me the ability to love on such a high level, and the ability to forgive on the same level.
Copyright (c) 1999 Robert J Hightower
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