Before I tell what I learned about myself, I need to set the scene. Our friends brought two of their three sons, ages 15 and 14 years, this weekend. Add my son, age 13, and daughter, age 10 1/2 years, into the equation and it equals an incredible amount of energy. Over the years the focus of our weekend has revolved around various water activities and our concern for the childrenís safety.
Sixteen years ago, when they first came to the cabin, our biggest concern was getting a life jacket on their two- year-old son before he went down on the dock. In subsequent years, weíve given lectures to the kids on safety while using the canoe, the paddle boat, and the sailboat. Weíve watched as theyíve gone from being pulled slowly behind the boat in a tube to them pleading to go faster and faster. The same has happened with water skiing and wake boarding; they want to try new skills.
This year the three boys wanted a new challenge. My sonís experience with the neighborís personal watercraft provided the catalyst. In order for the three of them to drive personal watercraft, they had to study a book, complete a workbook, and pass a test from the DNR to qualify for a ďWatercraft Operatorís Permit.Ē I wasnít too worried; they had less than two weeks to complete the work. To my surprise they all passed with plenty of time to spare.
So, we rented a personal watercraft for the day from BugBee Hive Resort. By 9 a.m. two of the boys were cruising back and forth in front of the dock. A surge of adrenaline shot through my body and my heart raced. Pictures raced through my brain of the boys getting hurt. I couldnít watch and headed for the cabin, as if nothing bad could happen if I didnít see it.
Being in the cabin didnít seem far enough away and so I headed for town with my friend and my daughter. We went in to SHOP, which gives an indication of how desperate I was. I hate to shop but was thrilled that a craft sale crowded the sidewalks. We lingered at each booth and I didnít feel impatient at all. In fact, the longer we were gone the more I could act like an ostrich and put my head into the sand (or stores, in this case.) But our money ran out and we had to return to the cabin.
Once back at the cabin my friend lured me down to the lake. I think she figured if she could get me on the ďSea DooĒ I would be fine. She kept reminding me of how many risks I took prior to having children! After a quick lesson, I went off for a ride. It was fine but I was nervous having to pull up to the dock. Having 16 eyeballs staring at me didnít help. My first attempt was bad, but at least I didnít hurt anyone.
Then I drove with my friend and my daughter as passengers. I started slowly but soon realized that if we were ever going to get the watercraft to plane, Iíd have to gain speed. The faster I went, the faster the other two wanted to go. When a boat passed to the left, they were yelling at me to hit the waves. When we went over the waves, Kristina screamed in one of my ears while Susan screamed in the other. I could feel every muscle in my body tense as we rode. They were two peas in a pod, loving the excitement and teasing me about my intenseness at the same time.
My friend was right. Once I had experienced the watercraft I relaxed a bit. In fact, by the end of the day I had even taken my aunt on a short ride and felt calm about operating the machine.
This brings me back to my original thought of what my friend taught me this weekend. She has been trying to tell me for years that although weíd like control over all situations with our children, we canít have it. I canít hide from situations, no matter how many stores there are in Paynesville. Iím not exactly an expert at NOT trying to be in control. But I made a small step this weekend. For a portion of the day I didnít get an adrenaline surge each time the boys went on the ďSea Doo.Ē I was even beginning to trust them and the machine. The next time we rent a personal watercraft, I plan on being close to the water, not wasting my time shopping. As I reflect on how lucky I am to have a good friend, I hope to nurture my less controlling view from the lake.
Return to Archives