Gone Fishin'

Since I wasn't sure we could really pull it off, I hadn't mentioned the day's plans to the boys.

I could do without the moans and groans if somehow I was unable to get all of them ready for this -- a morning of fishing.

But once I announced the big event, joy filled the air. They rushed around doing their chores with rare vigor. The oldest set himself in the garage and got the gear ready. It was already near 90 degrees but there he sat in the garage making sure we had everything. Before long we were ready to meet up with our friends.

We met them and through a series of events we won't get into, we all drove together. Her three sons, my three sons, my friend and I all piled into the mini-van and headed to our destination. Although the boys ages varied from 2 to 10 years old, we all had one thing in common -- we had never been fishing without the daddies. I didn't expect what was in store for us that day.

Upon arrival, we dropped our lines in the lake. Frozen corn served as our bait and from the moment we dropped our lines in the lake, the fish grabbed a hold. Shrieks of excitement announced that we had landed another pint-sized bluefish.

My oldest son took responsibility for baiting the hooks and fixing some of the tangled lines. Without hesitation he got the fish off the hooks and released them. And when one of the younger boys caught a snapping turtle, he even held it while we took a picture. All the while leaving his own precious line behind to help the rest of us out.

But the biggest surprise happened almost without me recognizing it. I mechanically grabbed little bits of corn and baited the hook. My friend reeled out her pole and cast it out into the lake. Before we even knew it, the two of us were fishing!

The people who were having a really great time were not our sons, but rather their mothers! This morning was supposed to be for them, but something had changed. For a moment it's almost like God said that this time was for us. My morning of selfless-sacrifice had transformed. "Behold what God has given you this day, Cindy!" I said to myself -- splendid memories of me, my pal and our kids being together.

It happens so many times, the things I do for my family somehow turn out to be good for me too. We were laughing and smiling like little nature girls. Both of us prefer eating seafood not catching it but on this day, we were reelin' 'em in! We prefer spas and fancy hotels but find ourselves camping several times a year. We like clean hands, and peace and quiet; but now get thrilled about bugs and Bat man's.

She tossed her little yellow 'Snoopy' fishing pole into the lake, tiny bits of bright yellow attached to the hook. I threw my more sophisticated line into the air and watched it unfurl and tangle the moment it landed in the water. There was no better place to be.

I will reminisce about the fish my friend caught that didn't have a lot of luck or brains and got the hook caught right near its eye. I was the one to get it out and return it to the water. I will remember the ironic moments when all the boys started throwing cheddar cheese goldfish in the water and there was a "feeding frenzy" as the real fish devoured every last one. How could I ever forget the million times I had to repair our lines? It was like getting a knot out of a really long necklace!

But what will hang on forever in my heart are the six boys, two moms and one lake stocked full of treasures waiting for us to catch.

We went fishing for the boys and landed a marlin of memories for ourselves.

[ By: Cindy Winter-Hartley -- from 'Heartwarmers' ]


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