Friday, June 10, 2016
A Day for Fish
Plan for the worst, hope for the best tends to be my mantra these days raising a toddler while still finding great joy in planning and taking part in adventures with our family. While days at home are nice and welcomed every now and then, my bones crave getting out for big and small adventures where we can taste and see and experience things together. After a season of hibernating inside during the winter months, I feel a bit like a bird freed from her cage during the summer. Whether it's an hour or two at the farmer's market on Saturday morning, story-time and a craft at the library on a Tuesday, or a new playground after nap, it feels good to get out and fill our cup with experiences in the summer months. Being on the go like this, especially with a potty-training two year old, means that I've learned to lower my expectations a little more and go with the flow a lot more. Sort of like our first trip to the pool last week. Every year at the pool is a brand new experience for us. I have no idea how brave the kids will be in the water, where Cruz will want to spend his time, and this year, wondering whether Mila is ready for no swim diaper or not. Already a little hesitant on the whole swimsuit thing, I decided to forgo the swim diaper and prayed for no poops in the pool.
Because I had already visualized a near-drowning, clearing-out-the-entire-pool-because-Mila-pooped worst-case scenario for our first pool day, I was left feeling quite pleased with how our afternoon unfolded, once again feeling like Superwoman for keeping my kids alive and not spending a dime at the snack bar (I even packed strawberries, thank you very much). Sure, Mila got scolded by a lifeguard for running more than one time and peed on the cement (Don't worry, I informed a lifeguard AND was pleased with my girl for not just going in the pool LIKE EVERYONE ELSE'S CHILDREN, including the two moms who were giving me judgy looks from behind their sunglasses), but overall, big success in my book.
Sometimes, though, adventures flow like water, smooth and steady and free, leaving you refreshed and refueled, ready to take on anything. Like an 18-hour car ride and a ten day vacation in a month (God help us!). This summed up our afternoon adventure on Sunday. We took the kids fishing to Big Woods Lake on a perfect weather day. Beau rigged up four fishing poles, two hand-me-downs from his dad years ago, one Mickey Mouse plastic thing with a good track record, and one brand new Frozen pole that Mila was delighted to carry around Wal-Mart, though I'm sure she didn't have a clue what its purpose was. I packed easy picnic lunches of sandwiches, fruit, and chips, tucked away a couple IPAs for Beau and my new favorite Flip Flop Wine (in a can!) for me, and we headed out on a whim and a prayer, during nap time I should add, hoping for a few bites and at least an hour of fun to make it all worth the packing.
After a little bit of walking, we came upon this perfect little spot to set up camp and cast our lines. It was a little sandbar tucked down off the bike trails, with easy access, no weeds, and no other people. The kids started eating, Beau baited our hooks, and within about five minutes, I spotted a bobber sink and reeled in a sweet little sunfish with Mila's trusty Frozen fishing pole.
We had the best afternoon, the kind where both Beau and I walked away saying this would definitely not be the last time we fished this summer. The kids were entertained with the worms, the fish, the sand, and the water for over two hours, and we caught five fish, keeping us busy and completely ruining our kids for the typical fishing day of utmost relaxation and very few bites. Both kids were fascinated and terrified of the fish, and we got lots of shrieks, ewws, and yuckys from Mila. While Cruz wasn't willing to get too close to the slippery little guys, he did surprise us both with his quick skills as a caster and reeler. Two of our fish he felt bite, set the hook, and reeled in completely on his own, to which he was very proud and earned the title of "Masterful Fisherman" the rest o the day. We started to lose attention from the kids and the fish when Mila became quite brave in the water and pretended to wash her hands over and over again, walking away soaked and over the moon.
Looking back at my life, I've ruined entire experiences because of the expectations I had in my head of how I wanted things to go. But if there's anything that forces you out of that world, it's raising unpredictable, strong-willed little people. I'm still learning how to be a person who craves experiences without expectations, but have so many moments of proof that when you let go and plan to be surprised, those are often the moments that show the most beauty and tell the best stories.
And, catch the most fish. :)
Happy (hot) weekend, everyone!