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Reel life lessons

What follows is a bit off topic, but I thought it was worth sharing. If you’re only here for the scoop on products, move on to the next post.

When I was little, I was brave. Trolling the beach for treasures, I wasn’t afraid to scoop up a crab and let it creep across my hand. But as I got older, I got squeamish. Suddenly, the little fiddler crabs and I experienced a role reversal, and now I was the one who scuttled off hastily when I saw them coming.

Then, I had kids. For the first few summers, I avoided the crabs, and soon enough, my girls were scared too. Ashamed of myself, I resolved to conquer my fears. Last year, I took a deep breath, reached down and grabbed a crab. I slapped a smile on my face and showed my girls what I was made of. Sure enough, they’re not afraid anymore.
Crabs I could reconquer, but I’ve never, ever liked worms. So today, when my eldest wanted to go fishing, my stomach started to knot up. But then someone I hardly recognized grabbed a shovel and pail and dug up three horrible, pink, undulating worms. That same woman got on a boat, and with grim determination, managed to spear a worm onto a hook and help her daughter cast off her rod. It couldn’t have been me, right?

On her first try, my 5-year old caught a fish. She really did. As the fish flopped around in our bucket, I tried to parlay my shrieks of terror into squeals of joy. My daughter glowed for hours, while I rode a roller coaster of emotions. Ridiculous as it sounds, I felt so sorry for that fish, and personally responsible for his pain and suffering (though ultimately, we threw him back). But I was also thrilled for my daughter, reveling in her sense of accomplishment. And I still can’t figure it out. By suppressing my own fears, did I open a door for my daughter, or did I miss a critical opportunity to teach her about life as I see it? I can’t really answer that question, but I do know this: when my daughter asks to go fishing again, I hope I’ll be there. I wouldn’t want to miss seeing the look on her face if she catches another one.

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