PUT DOWN THE PHONE /// how my baby ended up in the pond | Sarah Philpott

PUT DOWN THE PHONE /// how my baby ended up in the pond

This isn’t a post I want to write.

I’ll gladly admit when my house is a mess, each and every motherhood fail, and will easily share my innermost thoughts with you during times of grief.  Have you read my book yet?  Yep, I am an open book. 

In short.  Little humiliates me.

Except this post.  Because I must  admit that I let my guard down to do something as silly as check my phone.

I issue this post as a dire warning that stems from me not being watchful of my own children.

My one-year old fell in the goldfish pond beside our house today.

And I wasn’t around.

There I said it.  And saying it brings on the sobs once again.

This weekend we sold pumpkins, straw, and corn shocks at our little farm market.

Today the  orange and golden remnants were practically begging for play companions so I took two of my littles out for a romp.

The four-year old played castle in the hay stacks and boogied all over the wooden trailer pretending it was her personal stage.

The littlest wandered around the pumpkins and chased the purring yellow kitten.

I watched and smiled at their antics–enjoying the September breeze and the warm sunshine.

Then I decided to start moving the small pumpkins from the grass and place them atop the wooden picnic table.  I’d pick up the pumpkins, look around for the safety of my two kiddos, and then carry a few pumpkins to the table.  My eyes would go from pumpkin, to table , to kids, and back again.  I did this almost a dozen times.


My phone was sitting on top of the table.  And it beckoned for me to pick it up.

The sirens call of “what I’m a missing out on by looking at what’s right in front of me” was singing loudly for me to abandon my watch.

I picked it up.  And started swiping towards the news to see that status of the Florida Keys & Miami as it was being battered by Hurricane Irma.

I escaped, for a few brief seconds.


My reading was interrupted by the SCREAMS of my daughter.

She was on the other side of the pumpkin-filled trailer.  I ran.  And my. heart. stopped. but. my. legs. kept. going.

I screamed, but PRAISED GOD.

The one-year old had chased the yellow little kitten all the way to the gold fish pond that sits beside our yard.  And our Baby Boy was in the pond.  His sister, the four-year old that I frequently bemoan for being too independent, was clutching the top of his footed pajamas and therefore keeping his body from going under.

<Breathe in, Breathe out>

What if she hadn’t been there?

What if she hadn’t been so independent and capable?

What if…..

I snatched him up and tucked them both into the safety of my lap.

Tears streaming I hugged her, “You saved Baby Boy’s life. You SAVED Baby Boy’s life.  YOU SAVED Baby Boy’s life.”

And then I cursed that phone.

That siren- dangerously lurking and dangerously beckoning for us to go off-course.

That siren- who captures the attention and keeps many a mama and a dad from engaging fully with their children.

The irony didn’t escape me.

You see,

When we worry too much about other people’s storms,  we are liable to create tragic storms in our very own lives.

I was worried about the storm in friends + family members lives and ended up almost creating the worst storm imaginable in my own.

My baby could have drowned.

Thank, God for the “could have” in that statement.

I’m the mama who is on hyper-alert at all times.  We’ve had too many bad accidents for me to be anything but.  But in this one , single circumstance I let my guard down.

And my child, too young to swim, ended up in the pond.

That sentence sends me shivers.

Thank you God for saving this child.

And I’ll shall heed this warning.  And issue it to you all.

Put down the phone.  Go ahead and throw in an expletive in that sentence, too.

I’m going to be honest.  This will be hard for me.  I’m in the middle of launching my book.  It’s a time spent with hashtags and connecting with readers.  It’s a joyous time.  One in which I want to engage.  But I’m going to be careful when I pick up my phone to enter that world.

Will you join me?  And put the phone down.  And put our complete attention on what is before us.

Take the picture, but don’t post it immediately.

Enjoy social media, but turn off the notifications on your phone.

Don’t feel as if you have to be immediately available, but understand that the phone is a convenience and people can wait.

Know accidents can happen, but remain diligent and try to do everything you can to keep those in your care safe.  If an accident does occur, please give yourself grace.  And know I am not being judgemental.  We are frequent flyers at the ER, but we must try to control what we can control.  And YOU & I can control our screen time.

So when will I try to check my phone?  In the morning before everyone awakens, in the car before I start the engine, yet everyone is buckled in, while I’m cooking meals (yes, this is why things don’t taste as well), and at night while I have some time to myself.   I try to make myself readily available all day when I don’t have my littles, but when they are around, I’m going to be more purposeful in my time.

We’ve got to stop hijacking the relationships that are right in front of our eyes.

And what else did this teach me?  Let’s worry a bit less about the troubles of others, and instead focus on what God has purposefully put right in front of our very own eyes.

We likely can’t control what is afar, but we can shepard the sheep that are in the pasture with us.




Thank you, Jesus for your mercy today.



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About Sarah

Sarah Lewis Philpott, Ph.D lives in the south on a sprawling cattle farm where she raises her two mischievous children (and one little baby!) and is farm wife to her high school sweetheart. It's quite the chaotic household, but she adores the blessings God has provided. Sarah is represented by The Blythe Daniel Literary Agency. Her book, Loved Baby: 31 Devotions for Helping you Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss, will be published in October '17 by Broadstreet Publishing. You can go ahead an pre-order it on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and at Christian Book. Sarah is a lover of coffee (black), rocking chairs, the outdoors, and Hemingway. Visit with Sarah at her All-American Mom blog where she writes about life on the farm and cherishing life in joy & in sorrow.

6 thoughts on “PUT DOWN THE PHONE /// how my baby ended up in the pond

  1. Dear Sarah, first of all, together with you, I also want to lift my voice and my cry to the LORD and thank HIM for his mercy and kindness on saving this little boy’s life. When I read your story, the first thing that came through my mind was that maybe God himself knew the lesson we all needed to learn with this event. Sometimes we take it for granted the blessings he gives to us not paying close attention to them. Most of the time lately, I find myself letting things like phone, TVs, iPads, and other things (some time even people) take my focus away from Him, God, and from the things He wants me to pay attention to. The things that really matters. I wonder now, what have I lost already for taking my focus away all this time? I hope not much. Maybe some day I will know. Right now I am happy to know you didn’t loose your baby. The Lord sent a angel, (his own sister) to save him and I praise him from the bottom of my heart for that. I will put down the phone and the other things together with you! I promise!

  2. Sarah,
    I’m so glad you had the courage to publish this. But, am even more happy it had a very happy ending.

    I too love many things about my phone, but curse it at the same time. It has been so helpful while weathering out Hurricane Irma in TN, but can be a big unnecessary distraction as well. I don’t know how many times in the past two days my child has come to me, “Mom, watch this,” or, “Could you come here?” My response being, “Just a second. Let me respond to this person,” or, “Let me finish updating family & friends on where we are.” Now you’ve made me think about the times I’ve pushed my child to the side. I too need to change this.

    Thank you again for posting this.

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