Our two boats were moored together on the Potomac, and I could hear the giggles as our kids played board games on our friends' boat. This was my chance to scurry below deck to whip up some sandwiches.

Suddenly, I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck tingle. Laying the jelly-drenched knife in the sink, I found myself mysteriously drawn up the galley stairs. I glanced around the horizon. Must be the heat, I thought, and was about to go back down when I happened to look beyond the dive platform. I squinted at what I thought was hydrilla, the stringy plants common in the river.

My dreamlike state turned nightmarish as I realized it wasn't hydrilla, but my 3-year-old daughter's long mane of chestnut brown hair floating on the surface. From the corner of my eye, I could see her life jacket dangling from the boat railing. I leaped over the railing onto the dive platform and pulled her out of the water by the top of her head, clenching her hair in my fists. She gasped for air, her eyes darting madly until she finally focused on me.

Apparently, she had wandered away from the other kids and, perhaps hot, had unclasped her life jacket with her tiny fingers before slipping into the murky waters.

Female intuition? Angels? Luck? Yes.

Catherine DeCenzo, Ashburn

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