I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Though I’m certainly not proud of the fact, I suppose that’s just the way it is for most folks. But one mistake I did not make was not appreciating my daughter.
I had my daughter, Brittany, late in life and along the way I had repeatedly been told: “They grow up fast. Better enjoy them while you can.”
Well, I took those words of wisdom to heart.
She was six by the time we sold our business, and I resolved to make spending time with her a priority. Whereas before that point, when she would come up and want to play, I would invariably be forced to tell her, “Sorry, honey, I’m busy now,” while I worked long hours to help my partners make our growing business a success. But once we sold the company, I vowed to drop whatever I was doing and make her my number one priority whenever the opportunity arose.
She frequently came to me wanting to color. So I would put aside what I was doing and pick up a crayon. I must admit that it frustrated me to see her stay in the lines much better than I ever could. But as she got older, we migrated from coloring to other pursuits.
Brittany joined me fishing, and, in her inimitable fashion, proceeded to break not one, not two, but three IGFA world records fishing.
We learned to play backgammon and before long she was beating me without a handicap. Same went for Boggle, a word game where the object is to make as many words as possible from the random letters on the dice before the timer expires.
After watching National Treasure, a movie she dearly loved, we got into geo-caching. This is a really neat hobby which involves the use of a GPS to search for caches hidden by other people in locations all over the world.
As she got older, we enrolled her in a scuba diving course, and she became certified. Now each year we go on a daddy-daughter-dive trip to some neat location. We’ve been to Belize, Little Cayman, and this past year we went lobster diving with some good friends in the Florida Keys. This summer, while we stayed in the Keys for a month, we got her Advanced Diving Certification. Her plan is to become a Master Diver, so that she can work at a dive resort during the summer while she is in college (wish I had thought of that idea way back when).
Diving Little Cayman
We probably enjoyed the diving in Little Cayman as much as anywhere. Several of my friends who dove the Caymans, claimed Little Cayman was the best and suggested that we go there. It was good advice. We stayed at the Southern Cross Resort where they advertised that we would need no shoes during our entire stay.
We stayed in the second floor of a cottage on the beach and looked out across a placid lagoon to the pounding waves on the reef beyond. Kayaks were available a few feet from our front door, and we explored the shallow waters inside the reef, home to hordes of colorful reef fish, conch, and lobsters. Brittany found it hilarious when we engaged in a water fight with our paddles, and I ended up capsizing. I found that getting back aboard a plastic kayak in deep water is not easy.
Next year, she leaves for college, so for our last summer we’re planning a special trip. Until we realized that our summer is Australia’s winter, we had planned a live-aboard dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef. But after considering a number of alternatives, we are currently leaning toward St. Vincent.
Actually, I don’t care.
As long as we get wet in salt water, and I’m diving with her, it doesn’t really matter where.
Disclaimer: Frank Wilem is an author, speaker, and all around funny and entertaining guy. On this blog, his stories are based on his real life experiences, often with a satirical twist.
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