For at least several months my Munchkin has wanted to learn to fish. A total little boy thing right? A rite of childhood passage. I can tell you that I am very well equipped for this one. My parents made sure that the girls knew how to do guy stuff and the boys knew how to do girl stuff. I am lucky in that regard and I know it.
My dad used to take us all fishing in Lake Michigan. Usually from shore, but sometimes from the pier. I can still remember it. So, even though in my mind, this was clearly a time when Robert would have taught him something and I would have gotten to hang back, sleep in and enjoy some coffee--I was able to say ok without having to ask someone else to do it.
We headed off to the beach this past weekend and when I hit town, mom requested that I stop and pick up a few things. Honestly, it is a small price to pay-too little, one could argue for the privilege of sharing the beach with Munchkin and spending time with my parents.
When I pulled into Meijer and Nate asked if we could fish, I said yes. I selected a pole for him and some extra bobbers. When dad taught us how to fish, we learned to cast like an expert before we even earned a hook. As a parent, I think that is a FANTASTIC idea so I decided we would do the same thing. I checked with the desk and asked the rules for fishing licenses. I was told if I wasn't fishing it would probably be ok to not get one, however, knowing my luck, a dumb 40 pound Coho would bite his spoon lure just as the Game Warden drove by, so I decided to buy one anyway :)
Munchkin could not contain his excitement! When we pulled into the beach house, he promptly ran upstairs to show Nana and Papa his new fishing pole. I explained that we fish early in the morning and he was ok with that. I had him help me string his pole and attach his sinker and bobber. There was not a happier boy on the face of the earth!
The next morning, he rose early and was ready to go. We walked down to the beach. I sent a few casts off to remember how to do and explained it to him. Within a few short tries he had the casting part down pat. Now, the whole, watch where you swing your pole, now that leaves much to be desired before I will let him have a hook! Cause, really neither of us need to be hooked!
I stood there on the shore and just watched him. I basked in his joy and I kept my mouth shut. While my heart was full of memories of his father, I did not share them with him. They are not his memories, they are mine.
While I do enjoy sharing and answering questions, that was not for today. Today was all about watching my child enjoy learning something new and learning that practice improves what you are working on and watching him be elated that he can cast the line further than I. It was watching his smile and hearing his laughter and teaching him how to hold the pole, and what to do with the line. It was about being thankful that these are things that I know.
If he asks me, I will answer him, but I will wait for him to ask. If he asks me if Daddy liked to fish, I will tell him, Robert was an AVID fisherman. He loved to fish any chance that he got. He would go at the drop of a hat and would plan long fishing vacations with his brothers. Before he died, he invited my brothers to go on a deep sea fishing trip with him that was to take place just a few weeks after the car accident. I have two tackle boxes that are old and crusty now, likely full of rotten fish guts and only good for holding memories. Sweet ones, but memories nonetheless. If he asks me I will tell him, and if he doesn't I have my sweet memories of watching Robert fish, and hearing his fish tales and looking at the mounted fish on our living room wall. (The one that sits in the garage, in a box too tangible a reminder to enter the house)
But for now, for today, it is all about sharing a childhood memory with my son and being grateful that it is something that I can do!