Marie has always loved to fish, and would spend hours at home fishing in the pond in the backyard.  While at residential school, she has not had this opportunity. So, after last week’s fishing mis-adventure, Marie and I went today to a nice, official “fishing spot”, (not the water reservoir.)  It was a beautiful 80 degree day as we found the perfect spot in the shade alongside a small, tranquil lake.  Despite being near a city, the lake was apparently house-less and had the appearance of being way out in the country.  The fish were apparently starving because as soon as Marie dropped the worm in the water, the bobber would go under and she would be reeling in a fish…a SMALL fish, but a fish none-the-less.  She would expertly take the hook out of its mouth, and throw it back in to be caught again…again…again, and yet again…

Sitting on the grass, looking up at the azure blue sky, with clouds so white and puffy they looked like you could pluck them out of the sky and eat them like cotton candy, I watched Marie in her excitement as she caught the fish.  It was silent except for the sound of birds chirping…many DIFFERENT types of bird noises so that the first time in my life I was aware that they actually made distinct sounds and they did not all sound alike.   And the breeze ever so slightly rustled the leaves. Lazing in this wonderfully peaceful terrain, I let all of my worries and thoughts just drift away until I filled with the joy of nature and this amazing love I have for this daughter who has had such a difficult early life, but who seemed to be so relaxed and carefree while she was fishing. The feeling was not unlike the feeling one gets when meditating, but it was so much more!  Not only was I relaxed and worry free, but I was also filled with such an innermost love that I felt my heart would burst if I broke the reverie. It wasn’t only a love for Marie, but a love for everything in my life.  A warm, gushing, face turning red, eyes tearing up, love.  And my thoughts turned to my dad…

For those who have not read my book, you may not know that I had a very unconventional childhood, roaming the country with my parents and brother.  My father was…odd…uncommunicative…obsessed…paranoid…”crazy”…   My mom simply explained that he had returned from World War II “shell shocked”, but his love for her had never changed.  Satisfied that that love was enough, my mom married him, and the two of them had a long and happy marriage.  She understood him, where I, as a child, did not.  I did, however, grow accustomed to his strange ways.  He never demonstrated any affection towards me or my brother, and never said he loved us.  “That’s just your father,” my mom would explain, and I would accept it.  He would not attend any childhood award ceremonies, or graduation, or baptism of my children.  “That’s just your father,” my mom would explain, and I would accept it.  He would get upset if we spent too much money on toilet paper, or bread, or hot water.  “That’s just your father,” my mom would explain.  And I DID understand.  And I DID think that, deep down, he loved me, he just never said it.

But, until this day fishing with Marie, I had completely forgotten the times he and I had gone fishing, the one activity we did together.  He liked to fish, and I rarely had anything better to do, so I would join him.  Almost silently, he showed me how to bait a hook and how to take the fish off the hook.  We would sit for hours on a lake with his small aluminum boat with the small, electric trolling motor.  Anywhere we were in the country, he could find a lake.  We would sit and enjoy this pastime, quietly, peacefully, and productively catching fish after fish after fish, all which were gently and carefully returned to the water, unharmed, and bellies a little fuller with a worm.  I learned about the habitat of a large variety of fish; catfish, eels, pickerel, sunfish, pike, trout, bass and perch, (which we both agreed was our least favorite to catch because they were so EASY!) I could see now where this activity would quiet his bad memories, enabling him to relax and find a little piece in this crazy world.  To sit quietly on a calm lake, looking up at the azure blue sky, with clouds so white and puffy they looked like you could pluck them out of the sky and eat them like cotton candy.  The boat rocking every so slightly and little waves splashing against the aluminum making a tinkling sound. I realize that maybe  he felt the same way I did today while fishing with Marie, and it was a comforting thought to think that I shared such a peaceful time with him.

And I could feel now that he loved me…


To read about my early childhood adventures, here is a link to my book:

The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane

Link to the Readers Digest review of my book:


Comments on: "There’s Just Something About Fishing…" (65)

  1. Now THAT is what joy is all about! Well said!

  2. Thank you so much for the precious gift of this post today. Much appreciated.

  3. That’s a wonderful story! Those times in life when we can “catch” a beautiful moment, and sit with it, right then and there.. that is what life is worth living for. I’m glad for you, and thanks for sharing.

  4. That’s very cool that you take Marie fishing. I have fond memories of my dad taking my brother and I fishing when we were young. It was mostly pan fish that we caught, like perch, bluegills, sunfish, etc. I hadn’t been fishing in many years (used to go with the ex) and started up again last year. I don’t go often, but when I do, I love the peace and calm of sitting back and watching the bobber or waiting for the line to tug and the excitement when a fish is on the line and you get it to shore.

  5. Really nice post. Thank you.

  6. This was quite a lake you found, filled with so much more than fish. The joy of your daughter and the “bonus joy” of connecting with your father is simply beautiful. Shell-shock, or whatever a generation calls PTSD, can challenge even a strong relationship. I’m happy their love was stronger. And that they passed that great capacity to love onto their daughter.

  7. I love this post! It made me tear up. My four year old just had her first fishing experience with her “papa” yesterday :)!

  8. Thank you for sharing…… you sound amazing. I was just looking at your book and I can’t wait to get it. It sounds like some of our kids have a lot in common. We adopted our 6 kids from foster care. They also have healed a lot. I would love to visit with you some time………

    • I feel a special kinship with other foster mothers who have adopted…you experience first hand the things I write about!

      • I know….. who else understands why we do what we do. We loved being foster parents but made the decision to close our home so our kids could heal. We have 4 kids with reactive attachment disorder and they couldn’t heal with kids coming and going………someday we may do it again but for now we are trying to raise awareness about RAD and support others.

      • I think RAD is the most difficult thing in the world to deal with…you have to be a strong mom to understand their rejection and emotional difficulties.

      • I am thankful that God has been with each step of the way. I wouldn’t have made it without Him. I am so proud of our kids. They are amazing. Our 18 year old shared his story and helped teach a class on RAD. He will be sharing his testimony at church in the near future. If you go to look under child histories and his is the 2nd story. An amazing young man ……

      • That’s one of the joys of doing foster care, isn’t it? Among all of the tragedies and sadness come such amazing success stories! Congratulations!!

      • Thank you and congratulations to you too…….and yes there are many many success stories.

  9. Nothing better than quietly enjoying God’s creation with someone you love. And what a blessing to actually feel the love your dad had for you, but couldn’t express. You know what hit me about this post? After your disastrous fishing attempt last time, you went back. You didn’t have to. She didn’t know about the reservoir. You could have easily checked it off your list of things to do. But you made sure Marie had the opportunity to do what she loves to do in the best way possible. Even if you had to go out of your way to make that happen. I salute you, Marie’s mommy. You are an example we all should consider following.

  10. That was lovely. Just lovely. I’m glad you had that time and the peace that came with it.

  11. Wonderful sentiment I have similar experiences with my late grandfather while outdoors camping and fishing. Although I was not much of a fisherman, I enjoyed every minute spent with my Grandpa Clyde! Thank you for sharing. ~Allie~

  12. a true gift.

  13. Not corny at all! What a lovely post. I also have a child who loves fishing- will do it all day long. He’s out fishing with his dad right now in fact 🙂 I’m glad that you have that one happy memory of spending time with your dad.

  14. Some people say the words ‘I love you’ too easily and too often without meaning much by them.

    Others, like your dad, show their love, not by loud proclamations, but by precious shared silent moments of time spent together !

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story with us

  15. Beautiful – just beautiful!

  16. Oh I love mushy. So this post right up my alley. Glad you have that memory of your dad. It’s one to treasure. Blessings! maria and Joe chapman Email, iMessage & fb:

  17. What a beautiful post! Sometimes doing such simple things and not saying a word, says volumes.

  18. This is a beautiful story. I love your poetic descriptions. I almost felt like I was there with you. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  19. Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many different ways to show and share our love? We don’t need to be limited by the ‘ideal’ expressions of love that are fed to us by popular media.

  20. Reading this has brought a smile to me first thing in the morning. Thanks for the great start to my day.

  21. I have fond memories of a very special fisherwoman that grew up in the mountains of Nevada. Fishing was a joyful time for her and my husband likes it too.. We all need those quiet moments. Thank you for sharing about your time with Marie…

  22. Great story. loved it. that’s all I’m gonna say, don’t want to get all mushy.

  23. I went fishing the first time at 14 and caught a rare fish.So, I thought fishing was about…well..catching fish! Ah, did I ever have a lot to learn. This is a lovely , not mushy post. The end writing sure conveys the ‘being in the moment’ of fishing. Fishing is aobut companionship with the person you are fishing with. Well done.

  24. Nothing “corny” about it. It was very touching. Your father is reminiscent of mine sans the war experience. He never expressed his love in a verbal manner but I knew it nonetheless. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Hooray! for a wonderful gift of a day and moment!

  26. I love your blog, so, I nominated you for The WordPress Family Award. See
    for more details, and keep writing!

  27. Wonderful opportunity to stand at this window gazing down memory lane with you. I am not a fisherman (or fisherwoman) but, oh my grandmother was! As for me, I was her tagalong and spent many hours in a boat and trolling motor. She was always such a source of comfort for me.

  28. I do love mush! 🙂

  29. Beautiful stuff..

  30. Stolen innocence 2012 of United Wheeldom said:

    Reblogged this on stoleninnocence2012's Blog.

  31. My dad and I used to fish when I was a kid, but after one negative experience fishing with my oldest son, my dad said he would never take my boys fishing. However, my youngest, who’s nine, learned how to fish this summer and loves it. I asked my dad to take him and he did! In fact, he has taken BOTH boys twice in almost a week! I’m grateful that he decided to take a chance and now has made lifelong memories with his grandsons.

  32. Really lovely and well done. And you know what? You made me remember those quiet alone times spent fishing with my own dad. I was but 3 and 4 when we began and those times provided our own silent communication. Those times cemented the foundation of our own special bond.

  33. Absolutely beautiful thanks for sharing this it brought a tear to my eye. Keep showing the world your amazing perspective. I LOVE YOU!

  34. I loved reading this! Such a special post. 🙂

  35. I love your treasured memories and how you are passing the same gift to Marie. Beautiful 🙂

  36. I just found you blog! I am touched by your beautiful writing.

  37. sarajourney said:

    beautiful story, beautiful read, thank you 🙂

  38. We don’t always appreciate how our past has affected us until we experience a moment like this. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  39. I find it sad in this world how often children are not given the true gift of a beautiful childhood for one reason or another. Yet you were more fortunate then many others for even with the problems your dad faces in life he was there to spend time with you.

    I do believe you found a true blessing even if it did take many years to understand how love is all that we need in life to be really happy. a very nice article you have shared thank you.

  40. How wonderful, you received a double gift while fishing with your daughter. Long forgotten memories gave you the sense you were loved by your father!

  41. Awe… My dad never said much either, yet I know he loved me… And I have memories of him that make me feel “mushy” too ❤

  42. angiebuyong said:

    Thats just beautiful – your writing, the experience you shared, the beautiful, serene surrounding, your feelings about your father – it’s just… profoundly beautiful… I am following your blog now (as I am still new in blogging), looking forward to read your beautiful blog!

  43. Thanks for this beautiful post.

  44. I feel relaxed in nature but fishing with my Dad was one of my best childhood memories!

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