Last year I got over my phobia of the ocean. In the past, every time I stuck a toe in the water I would hear the soundtrack from Jaws. Many of the resorts on the Mayan Riviera are located around a coral reef, so the water stays waist deep for quite a length, and because the water is clear I didn’t fear that anything was lurking beneath the depths. I loved seeing the tropical fish swim around my legs-no need for snorkel gear!
Matty on the other hand, still had to face his water phobia. Child screams like a little girl when he feels anything bigger than a grain of sand brush his legs:
Matty: Something is touching me!!
Me: It’s just a little fish.
Matty: That is not little. Nemo is little. That looks like what you ate for dinner last night.
So imagine my astonishment when he suggested we take advantage of the free kayaks. And when Rebekah agreed to come along-well you could have shoveled sand into my hanging mouth. Fast forward to all five of us strapping on questionable smelling and too large life jackets.
Dad: Matty is taking the single, Rebekah and mom are going together, and I am going with Lydia.
Me: Um, maybe I should go with Rebekah. She and mom have never done this before.
Dad: It’s easy. They’ll be fine.
Famous last words.
Matty took off like a pro heading into the great beyond. I clambered into the front of the kayak and waited for dad to get on. Bad move. He dunked me into the water by jumping on too eagerly. Second time was the charm and were on our way. Left, right, left, right. This was fun! Wind in your face, the exhilarating rise and fall of the waves, sun warming your shoulders! I took a quick glance over my shoulder and my heart sunk with dread.
Me: Uh, dad. Mom and Rebekah haven’t left the shore yet.
Dad: They’ll be fine.
…30 seconds later
Me: Now they’re moving in circles.
Dad: Don’t worry, they’ll figure it out.
Me: Maybe we should head their way and help.
Dad: They have to learn. Kind of like when you throw a kid in the pool and hope for the best.
…30 seconds later
Me: DAD! They’re heading straight for the wall around the pier!
Dad: [sigh] Let’s go save them…What is your sister doing?!!
Rebekah was jabbing at the water with her oar like she was sticking a toothpick in a cake while mom navigated them in circles drawing closer and closer to the pier. As we drew closer the roar of the waves was replaced by a roar of a different kind.
Rebekah: We’re going to crash!!
Mom: Rebekah, paddle like me…left, right, left.
Rebekah: I am paddling!
Mom: I can’t see what you’re doing. Match up with me.
They lightly tapped the wall around the pier.
Me: Rebekah! STOP with the jabbing. Stroke left…NOT MY LEFT-YOUR LEFT!
Mom: What is she doing?! I can’t turn around.
Me: Stroke right. Together. No. Count and stroke together. Ok, now left, right, left.
Back towards the wall they go.
Rebekah: I don’t like this. We’re going back to the shore.
I think we lasted a total of 7 minutes on the water. The irony of it—They were in waist deep water the whole time. After that little adventure reading peacefully on the beach sounded very good. That night Matty and I reenacted the whole adventure sitting on our hotel beds while Rebekah gripped doubled over laughing.