The other night, I watched my sons get scuba certified in a huge fish tank at the Denver Aquarium. For the first few minutes, all I could see were their flippers and legs hanging off the platform, big fish and a stingray swimming by.
Then they jumped in. My older son (13), eager for this adventure, kept dipping his face in the water to watch the sea life.
My younger son (12) kept his head above water, waiting for the instructor to plunge into the water after them. My eyes were drawn to the whiteness of his skinny ankles peeking out from a baggy wetsuit.
My older son waved at me through the glass, but I could tell the little one was struggling. While the others barely moved their feet to stay upright, he pedaled rapidly as if he were on a bike climbing a steep hill. The instructor stayed with him, held his hand, had to pull him down when they dove deeper.
Maybe a mom shouldn’t watch her sons be tested. With more than an hour in the water, he never looked through the glass, never saw me watching, waiting for a signal. I could feel his discomfort, nerves.
Then suddenly, it looked like the instructor was leading him quickly to the surface. The others followed, huddling around him. From my perch below, I fretted.
My older son ducked back under the water, signaling his little brother was too cold. Doing so-so.
I waited, watching those white, white ankles.
Finally, big brother gave the thumbs up.
And the certification went on.