A Good Family Day

Dateline Sunday, December 28, 2008. Punta Cana, The Dominican Republic.

First real day of family vacation having spent all yesterday on planes and buses, arriving at night rather than in the light of day as expected. Fortunately, despite a night spent in two “queen” beds the size of singles— my wife and I were cramped while my son was comfortable in his own bed—we had a very nice day.

The order of things is not important to the story. The weather was warm, low 80s, but quite overcast. We were just happy to be out of the frigid, snow covered Midwest. We started the day by lounging at the pool and reading. We struck up a conversation with a family from NY for awhile. Our son hung out with us. We had breakfast. Our son D after sleeping later had gone to breakfast on his own and commented that he did not like eating alone and wanted to eat with us from now on (a parent’s dream with a 17 year old). Not even the occasional brief shower dampened the spirit of the first day of vacation.

We checked out the activities by the pool and a ping pong tournament was beginning. My wife and son are the talented players in our family and they competed. I went back to my book. My mistake. They came back to the lounges all excited. D had won the day’s tournament against some highly talented, international competition. The finals were a close match won by D 16 to 14. (More on the quality of the vacation’s ping pong in a later post.

My wife did the water aerobics, D and I went for a swim at his invitation—I know that things would change once he met some kids but I will take all the time he will give me. Late in the afternoon, my wife and I went for a long walk on the beach. Punta Cana has one of these many mile long continuous beaches. It is great for long walks on white sand.

The day ended with dinner at the Japanese restaurant, think Benihana’s,  The food was good and the service entertaining. D had a beer with dinner. Not a common occurrence.

I have saved the best for last. If you read this blog regularly you know that I love to SCUBA dive. For 6 or 7 years now we have been at resorts that have a free demonstration in the pool where guests can don the gear and feel the experience of breathing underwater. For 6 or 7 years now D has refused to participate. ALL I ASK is that he try it in the pool. I am not the athlete that his mom is so I cannot compete with him in ping pong, tennis, golf or any other son/parent sport. I have been hoping that SCUBA would be something we could enjoy together.

Once again he refused. I cajoled. He refused. I begged. He refused. I bribed. The opportunity to experience alcohol in some reasonable quantity finally won him over—much to the chagrin of my wife who feels I am leading him down a slippery slope. Too bad. I had nothing else.

The resort instructor was at first hard to find and then to understand. Spanish, not English is the primary language here. D put on the wetsuit, tanks and mask. He received instruction on when and how to fill and then release air from his BC and how to breathe through the regulator. He was without weights or fins so the experience was incomplete but down and away he went. He swam around the pool for awhile getting used to breathing underwater. I felt joys as I watched the bubbles.

He was then taught 2 basic skills. First, how to clear your mask if it fills with water and then how to retrieve the regulator if it gets out of your mouth. He mastered both which added to his confidence. I tried to let the instructor do most of the talking but was able to share my knowledge when his explanations were not enough.

Bottom line.  He liked it!!! This is not the time or place to have him take lessons. Too bad, I would have liked to strike while the moment was hot. No matter, this was a monumental step.

I am already planning our trip when he will get certified and we can dive together.

One very fine family day. Few things make me happier.

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

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