Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A memorable father/son swim on Fish Lake

Recently I got a new float tube. I passed my old one down to my 7 year old son Lien who naturally, has been itching for me to take him out for the inagural float. A few days ago we got a glass smooth wind window out on Fish Lake and decided to give it a go. Within 5 minutes of being on the lake my son had water creeping into the back of his waders. Lien's frame was a bit too small to fill the seat, so I decided to swap tubes and let him use my mine. Because of my seat construction I knew he'd stay "high and dry". As I lifted him up out of his tube and plopped him down on mine, his butt caught the edge of the seat and shot it out into the lake (you know what's coming next right?). All my momentum was leaning into where the tube used to be (before it shot out into the lake) and instead of smoothly dropping Lien into a high and dry float tube, I dropped him into the lake where he got soaked up to his forehead. Not only did he get wet, but I had such a death grip on his shoulder straps that I got drug down with him! After we caught our breath we began laughing and of course looking around to make sure no other fisherman saw what just happened (they did). Being a professional whitewater guide for the past 12 years it's engrained in me to prepare for the "what if's". For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it is the opposite of assuming the next to impossible won't ever happen on the water. Because we had prepared for the "what if", we had swapped our cotton layers out for some polyproplene layers prior to leaving the house. This bought us an hour of fishing time before the light wind kicked up and Lien started to shiver. Eventually the elements, combined with a lower than average body tempurature, overpowered the insulative properties of his polypro and he was ready to go home. Up until this point Lien had not caught any trout (though he missed two takes), but as soon as we started kicking for shore he ended up hitting fish. This of course prolonged the journey back to warmth, bringing a mixed feeling of misery and excitement all at the same time for Lien. Eventually we made it back to the car and Lien rode home wrapped in a wool blanket, sporting only his tighty-whiteys. Needless to say the trip was a memory maker. I'm sure if you're around my son enough you'll here the story in his words. I hadn't had a laugh like that on the water in a long time. To share that moment with my son, to feel the pride well up when he said "let's keep fishing anyway Dad", to see him catch his first trout on a fly rod unassisted... what a gift fatherhood is. And then to know that what I feel in my heart for my son, is just a small reflection of a much bigger love that God feels for me as his son... wow... it blows me away. I hope you dads out there take the time to make some of your own memories with your kids this summer. I'm only 7 years into the journey of fatherhood, but I know enough to realize it slips by fast and you don't get these years back.