Passing On The PaddleJanuary 17, 2020
Each spring the northern latitudes begin aligning with the sun and the resulting warmth edges us ever closer to that magical day that can only happen once a season. The infamous and exhilarating first family outing!
It all starts the night before, you check and prepare the gear. Oh no. . . One of the kids have outgrown their PFD and you’re missing a safety kit (insert stop one on the way to the lake). At this point you believe it should be the only pit stop that needs to be made prior to pushing off, how wrong you are!
The morning finally arrives, the kayaks are loaded and necessities packed away between the booster seats, but of course this day is packed full of activities so off you go to the dance recital and after many claps, cheers, and smiles you’re back home “trying” to get the kids changed. On any other day, this can be an easy process but today is not one of those days! This is the point where you reach into your bag of parenting tricks and haul out the “If you get dressed, I will. . .” after tense negotiations with a 3 year old you are back on track, however it cost you $2 and 10 minutes of Peppa Pig time. .
Snacks, water, sunscreen, bug spray, buffs, hats, and sunglasses. Check. Then for that question. . “Do you guys need to pee before we leave?” “nope” “nope” can be heard. So off we go, oh yeah. . stop one, 15 minutes later PFD & safety kit in hand and another round of “ Do you need to pee before we go? “nope” “nope”. . Wheels are rolling towards the water once again, and then it happens. . You can hear the soft “dad. . . I need to pee” I knew it! (stop two) Pull into the nearest gas station, the deed is done and time to get back into the car seat. . It’s a no go, quickly revert back to the “I will . . .” trick and she has now banked 20 minutes of Peppa Pig screen time.
Fast forward past no less then seventeen “are we there yet” questions and we have arrived at the boat launch. As we all push off and take those first few strokes of the year as a family you can start to see the sparkle light up in the kids eyes as they spot some painted turtles on a log basking in the sun, watching the small bait fish swimming in the shallows, and ducklings swimming in a row behind their mother.
The first few minutes of our trip relieved countless stressful moments leading up to it, I am sure every parent endures the same stresses even if they might not like to admit it. Words needed not be said as I locked eyes with my wife, we knew that the impact and impressions left on our children from these trips will resonate within them for many years to come. This is evident as my daughter has yet to ask for her screen time, but has asked to go out again at least half a dozen times since. If you are wondering, Yes, I had to pay the $2 though!
Tight lines and happy paddling all !