I discovered something rather depressing about myself tonight: I'm a PANSY Momma! This realization dawned on me today while I was fishing with my boys as I attempted to get a worm on the hook of my son, Gideon's, fishing pole.
For the last few weeks, the boys have overturned every rock this side of the Mississippi in search of the biggest and juiciest worms to take fishing with them. Taking the boys fishing has always been something my husband, Bob, does with joy and expertise so I’ve always been happy to chill with my little ladies and shop or…change their diapers (we haven’t actually graduated to Ladies’ Night Out yet!).
But the last few weeks my Hard Workin’ Farm Boy (just calling him that because he wears cowboy boots to EVERY function imaginable!) has been making hay while the sun shines (i.e., the real estate biz is hopping so he’s working 24/7). Meanwhile, the boy’s worm collection in their buckets is about to hit Guinness Book of World Records status. Thus, I decided if I didn’t want the worms in our backyard to out-populate our town’s population, I better take those little Huck Finns fishin’!
I mean, really, they’re only 3 and 4 years old…how hard can it be?
They were bursting at their overall seams when I announced this afternoon we would be heading to a nearby river to go fishing! The worms were transferred with lots of T.L.C. to a travel-worthy tote: one WITH a lid, the kids are wiggly enough in the car without REAL wiggle-worms on the loose! Next, their little fishing poles were carefully loaded into the van as their excited owners tumbled in after them.
The river looked smooth and golden in the light of dusk and the floating dock echoed the sound of the boy’s shoes as they pounded to down it, thrusting their lines into the waters as soon as they reached it's brink. Their little sister was right on their heels, holding the tote with the sacred collection of worms. Oh, right…the boys suddenly remembered, the worms! They pulled up their lines and hurried over to me, time was a-wasting!
“Mommy, can you get a worm on my hook, I gotta get back to fishing so I can catch a big one!”
No problem, I assured them, reaching into the tote and pulling out a worm. I had never actually done this before, but it couldn’t be that difficult. Right away, I felt a little squeamish from just squeezing the slimy little guy between my fingers but when I attempted to poke him with the little hook, I was shocked to see the worm flinch.
Did the worm just FLINCH in PAIN?! My heart began to race. Was this actually going to hurt the little dude? I tried again and got the same reaction, the worm jerked away from the sharp end of the hook. I took a jagged breath as my son’s sneakers shuffled back and forth in the corner of my eye. I could feel him watching me, waiting for me to do IT.
Great, now I have a witness to this murder! My heart was pounding harder…faster. Maybe if I close my eyes…
I tried again, with my eyes closed, but now my imagination began to run wild: this worm is alive! I mean, his mom is probably pulling dinner (a piece of dirt?) out of the oven right now and wondering if he (George? Billy? Fred? He did kinda look like a Fred…) would be home soon. Maybe Fred had been voted “Best Blue Eyes” in his high school yearbook (do worms even have eyes?!). Fred could be engaged for Pete’s sake! His wedding could be tomorrow for all I know and here I am, trying to turn him into a Fish Sandwich the eve of the most important day of his worm-life! The least I could do would be to give him a little something for the pain before I stab him with a HOOK!
I threw Fred to the ground, my hands still shaking.
What kind of person am I?! What kind of example am I being to my boys?! What kind of Mother would murder a nice guy like Fred!? I’m a PANSY and never even knew it!
“Momma…aren’t you gonna put that worm on my hook?”
I took a deep breath, gotta hold it together for the kids. I had no idea that fishing was such a violent-contact sport. Think of all the little Freds out there who die so that we can eat fish!
“Um…you know, buddy, I think we’ll just use the rubber baits today and you can use Fred, I mean--the worms, next time when Daddy takes you.”
Our evening was a fish-less fishing trip but we did catch some good memories and as we drove home, a beautiful orange sun was sinking beyond the hills. I smiled to myself, I had caught a Big One and I wasn’t going to let it get away…a Big Realization that is. I thought about how much of a blessing it is to share the adventure of parenting with a spouse. Their strength may be my weakness and my weakness (or pansy-ness!) may be their strength. I can’t do it ALL. I need my man and he needs me (I may not be able to take down Fred but once they bring home the fish, I can fry up a mean walleye!).
I think there will be one Hard Workin’ Farm Boy waiting at home that is due a big kiss of gratitude for little things (like taking the boys fishing for REAL) that I never before truly appreciated.
Now, Fred may have a different point of view…