When Lisa and I heard in the ultrasound room “You’re having a girl”, my exact words were “Dear God help me”. The thought of having a little girl terrified me beyond comprehension. All I could picture was the teen years. Terrifying. There’s a saying that touches on a father’s fear. I’ll sum it up in more family friendly words: if you have a boy, you only have to worry about one boy; if you have a girl, you have to worry about every other boy out there. That is the scariest thing in the world, I’m sure of it. My thoughts were how indescribably hard it would be to realize that my innocent little babydoll had become a young woman. I can tell you with no reserve that I dread that day of realization more than anything else in my life. I pray often that God gives me the strength to stay cool when Emma Jo is 30 and starts dating. But more than that, I pray to The Lord for the strength and wisdom to raise her in a way that will be pleasing to Him. What a responsibility we have. I knew I would love her with all my heart; I didn’t have a clue how much that could be until I first saw her eyes.
This post is about our journey thus far as fishin’ buddies. Regardless of the fact that I had a girl, I knew one thing for certain: I was gonna expose her to huntin’ and fishin’ as long as I could. Chances are she’s gonna eventually grow out of that phase, hopefully temporarily. She may think she’s ready to start hunting now. She’s been caught using my bird calls and wearing my gear.
But I figured I’d start with fishin’. After all, her track record thus far definitely shows favoritism towards fly fishing.
She helps test gear from time to time.
She’s even into fly tying.
In fact, she picks up my supplies from time to time.
I had been trying to get her out on a pond to start her on fishing for a while now. I feel she’s just at the age where she will actually get it and can actually manage it with help. It seemed every time the opportunity arose, something stopped it from happening. I was finally able to make it happen on a Sunday afternoon after church. We were visiting a friend’s neighborhood pond. I wasn’t carrying my rods, my flies, my gear. I was carrying a Echo Gecko rod youth fly rod, a Shakespeare Barbie push button fishing pole, some poppers, and a mess of nightcrawlers. Those were my priorities on this trip. The Barbie pole was all my doing. I wanted her to experience that platform of fishing as I did at her age. The fly rod was a gift from a man I’m blessed to have met- Sean Lancaster. We were set.
I decided to start her off on the Barbie pole. I casted it out there and showed her how to reel it. She took to it and reeled it in like a champ. For some reason, beyond my comprehension, the perch wouldn’t even bite the worms.
I was getting really frustrated at this point. It was humid as crap and she was losing interest. I knew I was on borrowed time. This was a make or break situation. I threw her pole to the side, grabbed her fly rod, and went to work on it. Boom. Set the hook and put it in her hands. I held the rod while she reeled it in.
I’ve never wanted a fish to stay on more in my life. Pure anxiety. But I felt it was very important to let her reel it in, not me. We got the little perch in and I smiled for the best fishing picture I’ve ever taken.
We kept with it and caught a pile more. She seemed to enjoy it more and more with each moment.
This was undoubtedly the best day of fishing I’ve ever had. It was something I had been looking forward to for the past two years, and it was everything I hoped. I can only pray she never grows out of wanting to fish with her dad.
But no matter old she gets, I will always think of her as my sweet little babydoll.