Hug Your Kids

I spent a weekend at Laguna Beach with my family. We liked to start the day with a walk to a coffee shop and then spend the day at the beach. On our last day, my daughter Mia Sarah almost drowned in the pool because she doesn't know how to swim yet. I’ve been hugging…

September 2018

I am back from California. I really enjoyed my Q&A presentation to the CFA Society of Orange County. It was an extra-humbling experience, because one of the attendees drove eight hundred miles to see me speak! Since the whole presentation was in Q&A format, we had the opportunity to explore a lot of diverse topics. I selfishly enjoy doing Q&A, because every single time I learn something new from the good questions thrown at me.

After the presentation I caught an Uber to join by family in Laguna Beach, where we spent a long weekend. This was our second trip to Laguna Beach in four months. It has turned into our favorite place to decompress and do absolutely nothing – we walk on the beach and read. The ocean is barely swimmable unless you’re a surfer, but that doesn’t bother us at all.

My daughter Hannah and I like to wake up at 6:30, walk through the streets of the still-awakening town, and find a coffee shop. I get a coffee and she gets a drink loaded with sugar. (That’s a rare treat for her – she gets those only on vacations). Then we walk along the beach, talk, sit, and read. My wife and our four-year-old daughter, Mia Sarah, meet us for breakfast, and then we just spend the rest of the day at the beach and the evening by the swimming pool – Mia Sarah’s favorite activity. We go to dinner early and we’re in bed by eight.

I know if I added a game of bingo to this picture I’d be describing Florida retirement. If I did this every day I’d be restless, but I could see me travelling to Laguna Beach for a weekend. Leave early in the morning on Friday and come back on Sunday evening. The flight is less than two hours from Denver. The Orange County airport is small and convenient, and it’s named after John Wayne – hard to beat that! I wouldn’t even rent a car, just hail Uber. A great place to decompress every few months.

On Monday afternoon, a few hours before our flight, my wife, Mia Sarah, and I were sitting by the swimming pool at the hotel. All the other guests were gone; it was just three of us. (Hannah had gone to our room to get something. I was engrossed in my book, with AirPods on. My wife was putting sunblock on Mia Sarah. Then I hear a scream: “Mia!” I look up and see my wife running to the swimming pool and pulling Mia Sarah out. Mia Sarah is shaken; she’s crying.

Here’s how it happened.

Mia Sarah doesn’t know how to swim. She swims with a floating vest. After my wife put sunblock on Mia Sarah, she received a text on her phone. As she looked down at her phone, Mia got excited about swimming, charged to the pool 20 feet away, hopped in (forgetting that she didn’t have a vest on), and promptly sank. My heart shrinks just writing this. It’s unimaginable what could have happened. Mia Sarah was underwater for only a few seconds, thank God. But what if my wife had looked for Mia Sarah thirty seconds later? We are taking Mia Sarah for swimming lessons next week. There are lots of obvious lessons packed in this little episode – I’ve been hugging my kids a lot more the past few days.

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2 thoughts on “Hug Your Kids”

  1. That’s a scary experience. My wife and I decided that swimming lessons were to be our children’s first lesson in risk management, dressed up as fun and entertainment.

    I am glad Mia Sarah is safe. Indeed, I’ll do extra hugging tonight.

  2. Initially, I established Dolphin Vision to prevent drawing in the water. Our product creates little interest among investors and swimming pool managers (probably because you need it just once and our brain denies thinking about it?) Anyway, I studied many things about drawing and its prevention, set up a lab in the country club and became a certified pool operator 🙂
    Golden rule: eyes on kids all the time.
    Kids drown fast, in less than 1 min.
    People drown in absolute silence, it is only in the Holywood movies they are waving by hands and shouting “help me!” It happens because we try to keep the head above the water and the throat muscles are tense all the time and it is impossible to open the mouth.
    And last but not least – kids until they are 5 y.o. can’t relate their height to the depth of the water.
    So I return to that rule: Eyes all the time on kids when you are with the small kids in the pool, it is a parent work with a little time for pleasure 🙂
    Stay safe,


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