Once upon a time, there was a little girl who dreamed of seeing everything under the sea. Flipping through magazines, eyes wide with excitement, she vowed “one day” she would! The only thing was that it required you to be able to swim. At her young age, she had little opportunity for attempting to learn how to swim as her parents never took her to the beach or even a friend’s house that had a pool or pond in their backyard. Lessons were out of the question as her parents simply could not afford it. So, she sighed, looked longingly at the pages one last time, and tucked the magazine away.
Fast forward about 20 years, and this little girl, now wearing the face of an adult, sought to make her dreams a reality. Having just lost her sister in the most tragic way possible (suicide), she vowed to fully live her life, not just for herself, but for her sister. She longed to see and experience things her sister never had the opportunity to, and swimming lessons were where she began.
When she felt ready, she embarked on the most rewarding, yet frightening, adventure of her life. While honeymooning on the Grand Cayman Islands, she enrolled in a resort course to learn how to scuba dive! Filled with excitement, her big adventures began! Once she mastered the skills required while being observed by the instructor in the hotel’s pool, they went out on a boat into the “big water.” Much to her surprise, she did not get seasick on the ride out there.
Once they found the best spot to view the coral reef, everyone on board suited up. They strapped the tanks on their backs and walked like penguins on the boat due to their fins to get to the side of the boat. Once there, they had to choose whether to back down the steps into the water OR jump in holding their masks in place with their fingers so the force of the water hitting their faces wouldn’t rip the mask off. Feeling full of thrill and wonder, she jumped into the water
In they all went, one by one, until they were all floating in the ocean. The instructor guided them all toward a chained anchor and told them to hold on to it as they made their descent approximately 40 feet below the boat. They paused briefly to give their ears a chance to adjust. If anyone had trouble getting their ears to “clear,” they were instructed to return to the boat. Sadly, one participant had to do so, and this participant was extremely disappointed, as you can imagine. However, to have continued down with the participant’s ears not adjusting could have caused damage to the ear drums. The wisest thing to do was return to the boat and wait for the others. Our lady in this story, however, was one of the lucky ones that didn’t have any problems getting her ears to adjust, thankfully.
Once down, she and the fellow adventurers marveled at the beauty that surrounded them. While the reef was not as colorful as she once envisioned, there was a whole new world with different varieties of plant life, fish, and sea turtles. Watching the sea turtle come toward her felt as if it was a dream, yet there she was in the middle of the ocean able to swim right along with it. And so she did!! The turtle was gracefully gliding through the water, and she got lost in the moment. Suddenly, she became aware of how far she had swam away from the others, and trying not to panic, she swam back to them as quickly as possible.
The thrill of this underwater adventure came to a close when a barracuda appeared. Having learned the signal for “trouble” previously, fear reflected in her eyes when the instructor gave the signal to her and another participant. Frozen in the moment, their eyes filled their masks as they waited for the curious barracuda to go on. When it didn’t, they inflated their floatation devices so they would go closer to the surface to get away. Once securely inside the vessel once more, everyone talked about their adventure under the sea and how fulfilling it was for them.
This once little girl with a big dream became an adult that made her dream a reality.
This little girl … was me.