Now that both my daughters are scuba divers, they have started campaigning for me, The Mom, to get certified as well. They’ve seen sharks and stingrays, turtles and corals, big fish and little fish. “There’s nothing like it,” they say. “You’ll love it,” they say.
I won’t love it. Oh, I don’t mind the suit, the breathing apparatus, the math involved. I love snorkeling, via a life vest, swim pad and cute tour-boat assistant nearby. It’s the whole underwater-can-I-get-back-to-the-top thing that bothers me. You see, I can swim, but I can’t float. I have lungs the size of Ziplocs. I sink like the proverbial rock. In fact, most rocks float better than I do. I won’t need the lead weight belt.
As a child, the swim instructors told my parents, “Take her home, find her a hobby on land. Don’t fill the bathtub very full.” Embarrassing.
As an adult, I’ve had a very confident swim instructor say, “Oh, I can teach you to tread water, no problem. Move your arms like this. Move your legs like this. Hold your breath like this.” And then he watched, awestruck, as I moved my arms and legs, held my breath, and sank slowly below the surface, treading water with perfect technique.
Maybe I’ll try snuba someday. Tethered to a lifeline, I won’t have the freedom my girls enjoy as they kick and bubble from one vividly colored patch of coral to the next, but on the other hand, no one will be asking them, “Is that your mom we saw down on the bottom?”