In life you sometimes get a reminder, if you’re looking for it, of how good you’ve really got it.
A few days ago, I drug my son out to the beach to do some surf fishing. In all honesty, I think the only reason he went with me was because he’d been in trouble and was restricted from his lifeline – the Xbox. With nothing to do at the house, he probably figured watching Dad cuss on the beach was more entertaining than checking out the latest House episode.
We tossed some shrimp out, and even gave a topwater plug a useless twirl or two in the subdued surf of the early evening. Christian’s first hook up was a ladyfish – think of a tarpon, but instead of 50 lbs it’s 2. The fish jumped and ran like a sport fish is supposed to and, even though it was small, it lit up the afternoon. He immediately claimed superiority over me in fishing, loudly proclaiming me as THE Loser on The Beach, until I hooked a drum that probably would’ve gone 6 or 7 lbs. Then his competitiveness ebbed…
It turned out to be a mostly un-eventful outing. We caught a few more fish but really had nothing to come home and brag about. Rapidly running out of daylight, we left with sand all over us and a rumbling in the belly. I couldn’t tell then if he’d actually enjoyed himself, but I didn’t think it was all bad. Teenage boys are very difficult to read, and they oftentimes don’t even know how they feel themselves – they’re too busy trying to figure out how they’re supposed to feel.
Flash forward a few days. My son’s had a bad go of it at school, and my job hadn’t been much better. He came downstairs and plopped on the couch to catch an episode or two of Dirty Jobs with his old man. A couple hours pass, and we laughed at Mike Rowe fighting bed bugs in mattresses and cleaning out God-knows-what from the latest sewer pipe he’d decided to crawl in to. When the eyes started to get heavy and the hour grew late, he popped up off the couch to head to bed.
Just before making the right turn to head upstairs, he spun around and asked, “Hey Dad – you wanna go fishing Saturday morning?”
Now, I don’t care where you’re from our how you were raised, what your background is, how you get your jollies, nor where you fall in the political spectrum. But there is nothing in the world that feels better than having your kid WANT to spend time with you.
In this cynical world, with all the bickering and fighting, with all our problems and all we have to worry about, my son wants me to take him fishing.
Kids sometimes get a bad rap in our society. We see them through the jaded eyes the media paints them with, and too often come to expect them to be the apathetic, angry jerks we just KNOW they are. But every once in a while, every so often, a kid turns aside from the movies, video games and cell-phone texting and chooses to simply spend a morning with Dad. You can rest assured that unless God blows the whistle and we’re all asked to get out of the pool beforehand, Christian and I will be hitting the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, surf fishing in Satellite Beach, FL, during the early morning hours this Saturday.
And I’ll be smiling.