When I began writing my blog a little over a year ago, I never imagined that the articles would come so easy. I knew that I had some old material that I could dig into for a story, and figured I’d make a few new memories along the way. I was wayyyyy wrong! I joke with my neighbor from time to time about these articles practically writing themselves each week. At times I wonder if our lives are truly this chaotic, or if this is just normal. There have to be other families out there experiencing the same type of stuff as ours in this stage of our lives. Then again, how many families in our area are comprised of this much estrogen?
In the last year, I have had weeks where I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. I’ve had weeks where I had no idea what I was going to write about. On the weeks where I’ve pondered my topic, something always happens to deliver it for me. This week has been one of those weeks. Sure, I’ve got tons of old fishing tales and hunting adventures to sling an article together, but there’s something about writing in the moment that I enjoy more. Everyone has an old story they can tell, but does everyone else proudly hold the title of “chaos coordinator” on a weekly basis?
In a house with three girls, four including my wife, each day presents its own challenges; “This one is being mean,” or “That one didn’t pick up her part of the toys,” “She hit me,” and the list goes on and on. Needless to say, when I see a brief, fleeting moment at an opportunity for peace, I jump on it. Things were quiet at the office last Friday, so I thought I’d head home early in hopes of doing a little fishing. Saturday and Sunday were to be filled with Independence Day activities at my in-laws’ neighborhood and in our subdivision, so Friday had to be the day. My wife assured me that we didn’t have any plans for the evening, so I was cleared for take-off.
By the time I arrived at the house, the weather had me concerned. Dark clouds filled the sky to the south, and I certainly didn’t want to get caught on the lake in a thunderstorm. I checked the radar and felt confident that it would be a quick shower, and the evening would be clear. My wife said she needed to run an errand anyway, so I agreed to watch the two older kids while she and the little one drove to pay the water bill. No harm, right? Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that this is a rare moment for me. Very seldom do I get the opportunity to poke fun at my wife. She is definitely the most responsible out of the two of us, and rarely, if ever, has an “oops moment,” unlike myself.
So my wife arrived back at the house after paying the water bill…after what seemed like an eternity. I could tell immediately that something was wrong. She ushered me outside to have a look at her SUV. There was a long scratch from the right headlight all the way to the side mirror. Visibly shaken, she proceeded to tell me of how Allie dropped something and she leaned down to get it…while driving. In doing so, she pulled the vehicle just off of the road and took out two mailboxes. Being the understanding husband that I am, I assured her that everything was fine. Not! To say that I was aggravated is a gross understatement. However, being the responsible and good natured person that she is, she stopped and told the owners of the mailboxes about her accident. They were extremely kind to her and just told her to send her husband over to fix them. Husband? But I’m supposed to go fishing!
I drove the half mile down the street to scene of the crime. Sure enough, one mailbox was demolished and the other a little banged up. I met with the owner then headed to the hardware store to get materials to rebuild his mailboxes. Fishing sure would have been nice. I made semi-quick work of replacing the mailboxes, much to the pleasure of the owner, who kept me company during my toil. I joked with him that this would have been better had it happened about eight months ago. My dad, recently retired, was a plant manager at the largest mailbox manufacturer in North America, and my wife had a 10-year-old car instead of a brand new vehicle.
With the work done, I still had time to toss a line. I hurried back to the house, let my wife know the repairs were finished, and loaded up two kayaks in my truck. By the way, I have my truck back, so please don’t steal my catalytic converter because it screws up my fishing. I told my oldest to get in the truck if she wanted to go, which she did, and we headed to the lake. I didn’t even bother to eat dinner; there was no time to waste.
We slid the kayaks into the water just in time for the evening bite. I cheerfully watched my daughter paddle into position to cast. She’s gotten so much better in a kayak with very little practice. Her excitement echoed across the lake when she’d hook a fish. I think it’s worth mentioning that she’s not cane pole fishing with crickets, neither. She’s bass fishing with artificial bait and learning how to present her lure. It’s pure joy to watch her figure things out, mostly on her own. It makes for some pretty “proud daddy” moments.
The evening sky begins to fade, providing us with a sunset that appears to be painted by God himself. We only landed one fish, but the short time of relative peace on the lake together make the evening something out of a storybook. It’s the perfect ending to a chaotic day, and I’m sure it won’t be the last of its kind.
Smith is an assistant baseball coach at William Carey University as well as an avid hunter and family man. For more of his work go to his blog pinstripestocamo.com.