It was the first thing I did with my kids that I hadn’t already mastered…and that made it a little terrifying. Everything I have ever exposed my kids to, I already knew how to do. Skiing, swimming, boating, even horseback riding…these are all things that I was an able leader for as they learned the ropes. Scuba diving was an entirely different animal. In fact, I lacked confidence. I had attempted to learn to dive years prior, and I had a terrible experience. So now, here I was with two of my teenage kids, about to embark on this new adventure with a stranger in charge and no ability to speak with them during the process.
I will save the stories from our certification process for another time. They include my son having a nosebleed and not knowing it until my daughter “told” him underwater and they both surfaced without telling anyone. Yes, I didn’t know where they were for a little while. (No biggie, right? I’m sure the look of a frantic mother at depth is quite a sight. A little worse than them hiding in clothes racks when they were little.) On the other hand, we also experienced the thrill of our first dive together.
But here’s the thing…most things I do with my kids have me in the leader seat. It was such a unique experience for us all to be learning and beginning together. We were nervous together. It wasn’t my “job” to calm anyone down. We took the test together…and had a little good-spirited competition. (when is the last time you and your kids took the same test?). And, I mentioned they were teenagers. There is nothing like the common ground of depending on each other for your life (or at least feeling that way) to bond you during an otherwise moody stage of life. My self-absorbed son turned out to be the best dive buddy you could ask for. He was especially attentive in reminding me to check my air gauge-something I was afraid I would forget to do in the beginning. (Of course, the skeptic in me believes my living was still in his best interest!).
Since then, my husband and youngest son have become PADI certified as well. We have shared some incredible experiences, visited amazing places, still laugh about some crazy events and people we have met along the way, and created some great family memories.