It felt special; knowing my daughters had never swam in the ocean with their grandmother, I wanted them to recognize the significance of the moment. In pointing this out, I also realized the significant moment was for me too; I had never swam in the ocean with Mom either. I kept the feeling close until I floated close to my sister and asked, "Have you ever swam with Mom in the ocean?"
She hesitated, then realizing it was almost impossible not to swim with one's Mom in the ocean, she answered, "Probably," but she couldn't conjure a memory. "Let's ask her."
Somehow it had seemed taboo to ask Mom, because of all the hours I've spent in the water with my daughters. It would have been a loss to me, and I didn't want to remind her if she hadn't. Yet, someday my daughters may rock climb, or ride horses and feel the same loss from never doing it with me.
"No," Mom said and had no problem with the answer. We'd only ever gone to the Pacific as children, as teenagers, and the Pacific waves, the currents, can be high and strong. She recalled the incident that kept her far away.
Mom was the president of a club in high school that had traveled to San Diego where she had her first ocean encounter. She recalls how she was taken under by a wave and like all of our first wave experiences, thought she was going to drown. She stayed out of the ocean...until today...she's 78 years old, and today, always, she'd made me proud.