As a kid, I was always in the water. I loved snorkeling in the pool and pretending I was in the ocean near a coral reef. I imagined all kinds of sea life from a giant squid to schools of baby fish I could touch. Of course, there were no scary things like sharks or sting rays. It was a benign fantasy world at my beck and call. When I grew up I found that I enjoyed actual snorkeling and often went to Hawaii to indulge. I thought my kids would share my aquatic nature, but when I took them to the sea shore for a bit of inflatable kayak boating, they proclaimed that it was not fun. I bought them underwater cameras to make the snorkeling more enticing. It always worked for me.
Hugh was the problem. He was not big on swimming even in the public pool, so why would he go for ocean water. In fact, he refused to go in at first. I had to practically carry him so he would feel safe. He got his bearings but it didn’t last long and we had to abandoned what I had hoped would be a fun snorkeling day. I think water recreation is enormously exciting but not for my kids. So, I took the matter in hand and got creative. I decided to borrow some DVDs from the local library so I could show my kids a new world of wonder. And they were transfixed by the beautiful colors under the sea. When the photographer illuminated certain fish, they became wildly colorful and iridescent. The colors changed as the cameraman progressed. There was an enormous variety of sea creatures of all kinds. The kids wanted to know all the names. I reminded them that we had tried to go under the water on our last trip to the beach but they didn’t want to get wet, especially Hugh. “Well, I didn’t know that we could see fish like that,” he cried. “That’s why we went.” So maybe we would take the snorkel gear out another time I queried? I didn’t get an immediate response but there was hope. Maybe one day one or other of the boys would join me in my childhood hobby. Meanwhile they loved looking at the documentary. They asked me to replay it when it was over. “I used to dive,” I told them and they were surprised. “I love water recreation and want to share it with you.”
“I might give it another try,” said Hugh, but did I believe him? I wasn’t ready to run out and buy scuba gear and find for kids. I want my reticent kids to have more interests and to fill their time with adventure. Alas, this is going to take time.