The first time I went out into the ocean to fish, I had a treble hook embedded in my scalp within the first 15 minutes. The captain said if the cork went down, set the hook! So I did.

As if I was reeling in Moby Dick.

Who knew? I remember watching blood drip off the end of my nose as we held a can of Budweiser on my head to numb it up. The captain wanted to head in to the nearest clinic to have it removed. I refused. This was my first off shore fishing experience and I wasn’t going to let a hook determine the direction of our day.

So after some discussion, my dad went ahead and pushed the hook through. There was quite a bit of tugging and pushing and pulling, quite a bit of cussing from me, and a comment from my dad that I will never forget – your scalp is a lot tougher than I thought it would be! Once he finally pushed it through, the captain provided a pair of rusty wire clippers that my dad snipped the end of the hook off with and pulled it back out. Two puncture wounds remained, and we fished the rest of the day.

This was three years ago, and I was hoping we would avoid a similar situation this year as I loaded my kids onto the boat. This would be Lilli and Lane’s first offshore fishing experience and I was hoping to have a great day. Captain Andy has been with us for the last couple of years and he is much more detailed in his direction and coaching. Plus he is great with kids.

While the beach and ocean are one of my favorite places to spend time, I do not enjoy going into the ocean. The water bothers me…I can’t see what is beneath the surface…and the power and energy of the ocean overwhelms me. I just can’t bring myself to venture out into its’ expanse. So heading out on a boat with my kids on board, while exciting, gave me that same overwhelmed and anxious feeling. My imagination ran wild with what was under the surface. It’s so deep. And dark. And unending.

The deepness is what I was thinking of as I watched my daughter begin casting at the bow, standing at the edge of the deck. She was the first one to haul in the fish. She actually out-fished all of us that day. And I caught my first fish of March! We limited out on Sheepshead and then headed out to deeper water to fish for Speckled Trout and Red Drum. We fished with live shrimp all day and my fingers were sore from pushing the hook through their hard shells.

It was a great day and nobody met the end of a hook!

And, as we climbed off the boat at day’s end, I realized we also safely navigated those deep, dark waters.

What’s it like to trust someone to take your children out into the great expanse of the ocean? It’s like holding your heart cupped in your hands, offering it to the captain of the boat. It is that battle between your level of trust and your desire for adventure. And what would have happened if we had played it safe and stayed on shore? Nothing. And we would have missed out on the experience. The experience of learning and growing together. Facing a few fears together. Putting food on the table. Understanding that sometimes, we are ready to face the deep, dark waters. Maybe we are braver and more prepared and we don’t have to have it all figured out…we can just trust.

The next few months are going to be like those deep waters. We have crazy schedules with three kids in spring sports, graduation, selling (and hopefully buying) a house, getting ready to send Lucie to college, and the end of the school year. I may be uncertain how to navigate these waters, but I have strength and I can be brave. And I trust that everything will be just as it is supposed to be. Even in the deep.

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