It snatches the bait and you feel a gentle tug on the line. Wanting to keep the little guy, you give some line and out it swims. In its mad dash to freedom it pulls a bit too hard. Then slowly, ever so gently you reel it back a bit. Sensing the need, you feed it more line watching its progress in the dance of away and near. Feeling the give you've offered, it bounds to the weeds. Knowing this direction will only end badly, you gently yet with a firm hand reel it back again. Eventually you land it, only to have the briefest of moments to snap a quick picture, marvel at your success, and set it free.
After a week of "run and reel" with Teen I used fishing as an analogy to parenting while talking with my mom. She laughed and then told me that parenting is actually like flying a kite - courtesy of Erma Bombeck.
You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground.
You run with them until you're both breathless...
they crash...they hit the rooftop...
you patch and comfort, adjust and teach.
You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they'll fly.
Finally they are airborne, they need more string and you keep letting it out.
But with each twist of the ball of twine, there is a sadness that goes with the joy.
The kite becomes more distant, and you know it won't be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you together
and will soar as it is meant to soar, free and alone.
Only then do you know that your job is done."
Whether your parenting is closer to fishing or kite-flying it is all about the give and take.