Here’s the plan…

When life calls for a plan, make one.

Anyone who has ever had any interaction with a teacher, knows that there are three times of the year that you engage in survival behavior. Beginning of the school year…brain is transitioning out of summer, meeting dozens of new kids and parents, a to-do list a mile long, little sleep, much caffeine. Christmas…uh, no explanation needed. End of the school year…brain is fried from testing, students are checked out, running on empty, the to-do list mentioned earlier is even longer now.

Teacher interaction during these times require only one response. Smile and nod. And maybe a cup of hot coffee. Or a bottle of wine. Follow those simple survival techniques and you will come out of these seasons unscathed, and your teacher friend will keep her sanity.

So it comes as no surprise, that one evening as my head was spinning and I was overwhelmed with the beginning of the school year and trying to put on a very fake front for my kids, my son said….So, Momma, what’s your plan??

What’s my plan? Wha? Like dinner? First day of school clothes? Laundry? Dishes? First day of school lunches? Cleaning up the puddle of pee from the puppy? Chiseling off the dried milk and cereal from two days ago on the dining room table? There is a plan?! He obviously hasn’t learned the above mentioned norms, as he dares to ask a question that involves actual brain power. Poor little guy. He doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell.

As I descend upon my unsuspecting victim, eyes ablaze, fire exploding out of my mouth, smoke streaming from my ears…Plan? PLAN?! What are you TALKING about?! I don’t have time for a PLAN! The PLAN is to SURVIVE! Plan for WHAT??

He looks up and me and says, “Your fishing plan, Momma. What’s your plan for fishing?”

Oh. My heart.

Everything slipped away. My heart softened. My eyes teared.

This little seven year old boy. He knows how I best deal with stress. He recognized that I needed time. Time away. Time alone. Time outside. And he loves me enough to think of how to fix everything. Fishing.

Oh, my love, keep this tender heart of yours, it will come in handy when you grow up.

However, in the meantime, I made a plan.

Photos by @burtoncustomrods

 

  1. Leave the laundry on the couch.
  2. Leave the dishes in the sink.
  3. Leave the grading basket at school.
  4. Let’s go find some water….cause this kick ass fly rod just showed up on my doorstep.

Gotta take care of yourself before you can take care of others. And, one more thing, my kids are kinda awesome.

“Just try it,” he said.

My spirit was drowning.

My dad talked me into it. On a beautiful, late summer day, at the cabin, he cast the line and handed me his fly rod.

I was knee deep in divorce that summer.

Too many years spent focusing on kids, careers, and not enough time focusing on our relationship left me foundering and depressed in a failed marriage. My life revolved around my kids – school, meals, sports practices, activities. Repeat. I had nothing of myself.

Divorce is an ugly and tragic journey that completely turns you inside out.

I felt like a shell of a person.

My spirit was drowning.

The stress of a divorce and adjusting to being a single mom of three kids was crushing me. The pressure, tightness in my chest, sadness, sleeplessness…it was all just too much.

So, when my dad handed over the fly rod, the last thing I was interested in was trying to catch a fish. I had fished before, but it never appealed to me. I was more interested in simply riding along and kicking back with a book.

However, that day was different. There was something about feeling the line run between my fingers. Straining to watch where the fly disappeared into the water. Standing with a mixture of anticipation, doubt, and on the very edge of disappointment. It was….emotional. Then came the soft tug. The first time I felt the sensation that every angler craves. The feeling that feeds the addiction.

My first fish was a gorgeous rainbow trout. The smile radiating from my face and the excitement dancing in my eyes captured the emotion in my heart perfectly. My life path made a hard left at that point.

Fly fishing gave me something else to focus on. I was obsessed. Thinking about what the fish were feeding on, where they were hiding, the elements, casting…feeling the rhythm of the cast and focusing on the point of the cast…it allowed me to escape. I was able to escape what was killing my spirit.

In a way, fly fishing saved me. It got me through the most difficult time in my life. It gave me something to look forward to; being outside in the beautiful outdoors of Wyoming, connecting with something so ethereal as native trout. Experiencing the release of a fish…whether it is 25 inches or 4 inches…is emotional. Watching it recover from the fight, feeling it slip through my fingers, it seemed to take pieces of my brokenness away with it each time. The release helped me understand the beauty of letting go.

Fly fishing gave me a renewed sense of spirit and tenacity.

 

Stress is still lurking, but getting out on the water helps me manage it. I can handle this life now.

I got this.