This time of year is synonymous with birthdays in my house. Both of my boys age in late July and in the middle of August, respectfully.
Also synonymous this time of year is the absolute heat and humidity that invades and melts the pure enjoyment of life for anyone outside. Additionally, there is a synonymous association with fishing this time of year and this time of year fishing means enduring heat and humidity and sometimes the enjoyment of life melts, too.
For as long as there have been birthday parties and gatherings and events for my two boys, there has also been a running consistency of incorporating fishing into the birthday celebration.
On many occasions this incorporation has been full-throttle fishing themed parties with the cake in the shape of a fish and fishing games replacing pinning a donkey’s tail. And, there have also been multiple fishing parties that have taken place by the pond, with fishing being the activity of choice.
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Over the tenure of these fishing birthday extravaganzas, I have witnessed much memory and moment surrounding the blowing-out of candles and opening cleverly wrapped gifts. From birthday celebrations with my boys, they have invited many kids and families and fellow classmates. From these birthday celebrations, that have been based by the water and involved hook and line and pole, I have witnessed incredible moments of happiness, while learning a new depth of patience, I never knew existed.
Here, kids have held fishing poles for the first time. Here, kids have held fishing poles for the first time while a parent has watched their kid hold a pole and reel a fish for the first time. Here, girls have held a red worm between their fingers and baited hooks and boys have not baited hooks because they did not want to hold the worm.
From these moments that involved celebrating a birthday, an invited child has screamed with hysteria over pulling a four-ounce fish from warm and stagnant pond-water. At the same time, I have seen the excitement from the birthday boy as he, with all the birthday luck one could ever deserve, hoisted the biggest fish of the day.
In all of these moments and witnessing of activities and celebrations and the hundreds of hooks I have baited and knots I have untied and assurances that the fish would not bite, all of the hot days and humid days and days spent planning and cleaning-up from a birthday party have all been labors of what is for me, a labor of celebratory love.
You see, I have been to the pizza parties and the themed parties around a pool and the traditional parties where the cake is served and the kids are excited and the air conditioning feels good. Yet, in holding a fishing party for kids and exposing kids to the world of fishing and enduring all of the things that have been part of birthdays, exposing kids to the act of fishing is a gift that is really best given. Through exposure to fishing, there is at least an opportunity to introduce something new and resourceful that might not otherwise be available.
Our birthday themed fishing parties typically endured the hottest of temperatures and the most unbearable of conditions. However, when a kid is given a fishing pole and encouraged to wait by the water for a bite, the result usually became something larger. This larger something is not ever a fish. This larger something is not catching lots of fish. This larger something is that hopefully between the candles and the cake and the traditional nature of a birthday party, that the traditional nature of fishing may be a hook that is set and this lasts for many birthdays.
Recently, my youngest celebrated his 11th birthday. In keeping with tradition, there was fishing and it was also very hot. Lucky for me, all he needed was a few candles and some bait to make his day special.
In my opinion if more birthday parties involved cake and worms and bait, then the world of a child would be all the better.
Enjoy your time outdoors.