It would be very accurate to say, I am not a water person. The single "most traumatic" experience of my childhood was being baptized a member of the LDS church when I was 8 years old. That is a story in and of itself, but suffice it to say that was the first (and second!) time I ever put my head completely under the water.
Although I did learn to swim as a child, I have never to this day jumped into a pool or body of water that isn't more than 3 feet deep. I have never passed on my fear of water to my children, they just understand it to be that I don't really "enjoy water."
This year on our cruise, in talking to one of the couples in our large group they brought to our attention one of the "shore excursions" they were going to go on at the end of the week. Immediately, I wanted to do it. Mike looked at me like I had just said we were going to jump off the ship and swim home. He couldn't believe I wanted to do something that used words to describe it like: "snorkeling in the ocean", "kayaking", "strenuous", etc.
For some reason, I had a tight grip on the idea, and Mike stood encouragingly by me a couple of days later as I signed us up for the, "Kayak, Snorkel, Hike" excursion.
Granted. I knew I had signed up for something completely out of my comfort zone, but I was still surprised the night before our 8am meeting time when I couldn't sleep well. It wasn't just the stress of which shoes to wear first and which ones to pack (both flip flops and tennis shoes suggested) that was keeping me awake, it was the excitement/nervousness/apprehension/surprise/anxiety about the whole adventure I was about to embark on.
Really, one could think I am making far too big of a deal about a simple excursion. But I know me well, Mike knows me well, so do my children. So this was a big flippin' deal that I was doing this! And I can't let it not be recorded into my family history files.
As we boarded our truck/wagon/would be 100% illegal and unsafe in the USA vehicle that transported us to our destination, I knew the experience was going to be one of two things:
a. A complete flop in which either Mike or I, or both would be completely embarrassed of my fears and the potential outburst I could have at either him or anyone else, and we would return to our cruise ship deflated and at odds.
b. Or, it was going to be one of the proudest days of my life. A day which I accomplished something fearful, difficult and hard. And not only lived to tell the tale, but had a smile on my face for days because of it.
The latter occurred.
It was one of the most fabulous things Mike and I have ever done together. I loved it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the smoothest few hours. I did speak a little harshly to Mike on the initial kayak ride that he needed to quit moving because it was going to tip us. And I did initially chicken out about swimming out to the 12 foot deep waters to snorkel, and instead told Mike to go on without me. (Mike should have been born a fish, he loves the opportunity to be in any body of water. Especially, the beautiful clear waters of the Caribbean. I didn't want him to miss out on this experience.)
(I wish I had a photo of the look on my children's faces, when I told them, "Dad and I rode kayaks in the ocean, and went snorkeling together." Their jaws hit the ground and the comments were, "No way!" "Seriously? You?" "I don't believe it. We need proof.")
(I spent the first little while with a death-grip on Mike.)
(Me posting this photo, is almost as brave as actually being in the water!)
(There's a sting-ray down there if you know what you're looking for.)
There were so many emotions, and life-lessons for me personally from doing something so out of my comfort zone. I know it is a seemingly easy experience for most, but it wasn't for me, and I felt pure pride and satisfaction from doing something so hard.