Yesterday, I was driving home from work, thinking about how the Summer is flying by. So many times when I go to work, maternal guilt overcomes me like a tidal wave. It's amazing that things I never thought of before, I can now feel guilt over because I am working. Anyway, on this particular drive, I was reminded of the hundreds of times this Summer that Gabe has asked to go fishing. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know we had a pretty huge move this Summer and as you can imagine, have been very busy setting up home in our South Jersey suburb. The really neat thing is, our little suburb has a cute little lake right at the end of our street. Most days the lake is complete with loads of geese, a few small rowboats and little boys fishing. Gabe, of course, has noticed the little boys fishing. He has asked almost daily and so far his parents had failed to deliver. So many other things to do, do I need to list them? I mean, work, groceries, housework, bills, errands, back to school stuff...just listing them is exhausting! So fishing has pretty much been, very close, if not at the bottom, of my list.
When I was a little girl, about 11 or so, we lived in a house right down the street from the park. For some reason, one Summer, I decided I was going to fish. I really am not sure why, maybe I should ask my mother, but no one in our house was anything close to a true "outdoors man". We didn't hunt, fish or camp growing up, I mean we did lots of other fun stuff, but just not rough, outside stuff, with bugs...or dirt. Anyway, I decided I was going to go fishing at the pond in the park at the end of our street. My mom thought it was a fine idea, so one morning I headed out with my spool of fishing line (no pole), a hook, and a few pieces of bread. I sat on this little foot bridge made of wood, and I lowered my line through the slats of wood on the bridge. I caught several "Sunnies" and "Blue gills" and was extremely proud of my success. I had so much fun, I made this a regular part of my Summer days that year and on one particularly successful day, I decided to put all of my fish in a bucket with some water (probably 10 or so "Sunnies"). I carried my bucket all the way home and struggled up the stairs to my front door with my reel, leftover bread, and my bucket of fish. I was met at the door by my mother, who heard me coming. "What do you have there?" she said. "I caught some beautiful fish, mom", I answered, "and I need to get an aquarium to put them in...quick!" I will never forget the gentle smile she gave and the instructions that followed, that ultimately led, of course, to me returning the fish to their home.
This morning, when I got up, I decided to take Gabe fishing. After breakfast, I told the boys we would be taking a fishing trip to the lake down the street. Gabe's eyes lit up immediately. "Really?" he asked, eyes beaming. "Yes", I said, "let's get some bread and see if any of your brothers want to come with." And so we did. Four, of the boys and I headed out and later T joined us. The boys had a great time casting and catching fish in the lake. Rhett even caught a small turtle. I took such joy in helping them and also just enjoying them. It brought me such joy to watch them help each other bait hooks and remove fish. Sometimes their dad would tease them when they acted squeamish about taking the fish off the hook. "Are you really gonna stand there while your mother takes the fish off your hook?" he asked. I don't need to tell you, I didn't get to touch any more fish after that. One fish got particularly fiesty when Aubrey and I were trying to take it off the hook. He jumped back from the fish as it flopped around. This followed with a lot of teasing about the rare "NJ spike fish", a deadly South Jersey breed, we told them. I don't think any of them believed us though.
We headed home as the morning turned to afternoon, and Gabe asked me to promise we would come back after dinner to fish some more. Sure enough, after dinner, he was in the kitchen as I was cleaning up. Fishing pole in hand he said, "Ready Mom?" Just he and I headed out this time, and when we got to the lake, the sun was setting and the ducks and geese were skimming along on the top of the water. My uncle was fishing there too (very seriously), he saw us and asked us why we were carrying bread, "are you hungry?" he chuckled, as he baited his hook with some fancy, big, fake, wormy looking thing. We smiled, and Gabe said "Nope, we're here to catch fish." I baited Gabe's hook and he casted. Long story short...he caught three fish in ten minutes! Suddenly, only Gabe was chuckling. Hmmm....:)