Arctic Dock Jumping

Every year we go on two family vacations.  One is set, for life, never changing –total tradition.  That’s West Virginia.  Working on the 19th year this fall. Fired up. 

For spring/summer, we typically go to the beach. Most times it’s been OBX.  This year we switched it up and went to the Finger Lakes.  We figured we could still swim and have the relaxed, mountain-type atmosphere.  

Well, we got the atmosphere, but not the swimming. What were we thinking?!!! Not sure what the lake temperature was, but in those 700’ deep lakes, and after a cold and rainy winter/spring, the last week of which we chose for our trip, it was flat out freezing. 

We arrived at 60 degrees and rainy. And of course, my son Mitchell immediately put the challenge out to jump off the dock that evening. Kind of like a highly committed polar bear plunge – you have to swim out.  Gotta admit I did not want to do that. But he’s my son; I’m his dad. What’s a good dad to do? I’m in. And our youngest daughter and new son-in-law “jumped” at the challenge as well. 

So we did it. Jumped right in off the dock. I had no idea how cold it was. Didn’t test it. Just jumped in. And it was beyond cold – the immediate take-your-breath-away, I’m freakin’ panicking here and gotta-get-out-now cold. Never hit water that cold. 

And we did it again the next day. 

And again the last day. In fact, by the last day, it wasn’t likely any warmer, but the sun was out and, to tell truth, we were getting used to the pain.  

As I looked back, I realized what I dreaded most became one of my best memories of the trip.  I can’t tell you how much I wanted NOT to jump in, but I’m sure glad I did. We had a blast and built some fun and unique memories. Imagine if I stood on the dock and watched. I’m his dad – can’t do that. 

I don’t want to ever miss these opportunities to connect with the people I love. Even if it means doing something I really don’t want to do.  Yet, sometimes that thing we don’t want to do, like dock jumping into arctic water, turns out to be a fantastic, unforgettable memory.  

It sure did for me.