We took our kids fishing Friday evening.
Our kids are young and enthusiastic, but inexperienced and uncoordinated. And I hadn't been fishing in a few years, myself.
I watched my husband bait hooks, replace hooks, cast, reel, unhook fish, encourage, and reassure my kids tirelessly for three hours. I was awed by his endless patience and ceaseless enthusiasm.
He calmly unwound my daughter's fishing line from my son's head and then rather patiently reminded my daughter that she was to wait before trying to cast by herself.
He helped my son change bait at least 10 times each hour and good naturedly indulged my son when he insisted that he use the biggest lure in the box. He also removed it two minutes later when my son realized his father had been right, and never said a word.
He constantly reminded my daughter to watch the bobber and didn't seem to mind that she was becoming more interested in picking up rocks and kicking dirt.
He ran the fifty yards between my two kids, attending to all their needs, never once refuting my son's intuition that the spot he found so far away was "lucky."
And he just laughed when my son gave up fishing in favor of engaging the ducks.
He baited and casted and untangled and rebaited, all in good spirit.
All on a sprained ankle.
All evening long.
And, all the while, his rod remained on shore, dry and unbaited . Not once did he get a chance to drop a line of his own.
And yet he spoke from his heart when he insisted that he was having the most fun of all.
Here's to you, Honey, and to all fathers everywhere . . . for it was Friday night that I finally realized, there were many afternoons when my own father never got in his own line . . .
You make my children better people,
You make me a better woman.
I love you.