How it began..
For weeks leading up to my 22nd Birthday, my fly-fishing-obsessed Fiance had been talking about this new fly rod that had just been released. He'd said he wanted one so bad and went into great detail all of the ways it was so much better than the one he currently had. These details were necessary, as I didn't understand why someone needed to spend hundreds of dollars on a fly rod anyway, let alone replace the perfectly wonderful one - that had already cost hundreds of dollars. But I listened with a smile on my face, because of the love in my heart, that I had for this man who continuously tried to balance the line (no pun intended) between fishing or spending time with me. He usually picked me, as I was the catch of his life.. sorry fishes!
Fast forward to my birthday. He drove me to dinner and then to a condo in the mountains. This was a sweet and thoughtful gesture on it's own, but to top it off, the condo was full of unexpected guests yelling - well, you guessed it - SURPRISE! Then the moment came that every birthday waits for.. the gift opening. I noticed he had two emotions in his eyes - excitement, and.. was that a little devious expression as he looked at his (conspiring) friend? He handed me my gift.. the new fly rod he'd been talking about.
Wait a minute. What? Did he just buy ME a gift for HIM? Who was this guy? I didn't fish.. I was sure this was a joke. I carefully asked him if he was kidding - and as he looked a little deflated, he explained what all women should know..
He wants me to fish with him.
I saw fly fishing and the rod in a different way as this fact sunk in.. and I'm thankful it sank deep enough to stick, because it changed our relationship forever. I still remember him showing me all the fine details of my new rod - the one he wanted - but got for me. A special feeling enters my heart as I remember him taking me through the store, in the days that followed, and getting me completely outfitted in waders, boots, and a vest of my own. But the best memories come when I recall him taking me through the baby steps of learning to fly. He helped me tie my shoes and buckle my waders. He led me to the water and held on tight as we crossed the river and he taught me how to walk it safely. It was really quite the special time, as I learned to take an interest in something that he truly loved.
It doesn't get more romantic than that, folks.
This man, wanted to share what he loved - instead of keeping it for his guy-time. I don't know if it was that he loved me that much or if he was just that big of a genius - and figured that if he got me involved, he'd get more time doing what he loved. Perhaps it's a little of both, but I think (almost 18 years later) that he's proven that I'm his favorite fishing buddy - and to me that's better than any gesture of love I recall Romeo making. He loved me enough to include me.
In our (nearly) 17 years of marriage, we've journey'd on many trips to spectacular fishing destinations in the mountains, canyons, or even Maui, Hawaii - where they say fly fisherman can't be found - but if you know my husband, you wouldn't be surprised to see him fishing out of a puddle - and even bringing in a trophy from that water (which he did off the jetties in Maui).
Our trips together became rare as we had children.. like once a year kind of rare. But anywhere and anytime we got together on that river, time slowed down, obstacles disappeared and distractions vanished. It was just us.
On a special day, a few years ago - that was special for no other reason than the fact that we seized the opportunity to go together while the kids were at school - I remember a particularly sweet moment. It was a crisp January day. We had driven about an hour to get to a favorite spot of his, and after purchasing some snacks at the nearest grocery store, we found ourselves getting suited up for the river before heading up the canyon. There I sat on the tailgate, as he helped me get my boots on and tied up just right. I could do these things, but after all these years, he was doing the equivalent of throwing his coat over the rain puddle.. for me. Already feeling special, I looked up to see an older woman walking by with admiration on her face and a sweet smile. I felt like the most special woman in the world.
Yeah I won the prize.
But you may have won the prize too! Or maybe you just need to claim it? If you have a passion, reach out and invite your loved ones to join you! If you have been invited, take their hand and accept their act of love! I promise that whether it's your child offering you a slimy cheerio, or your teen asking you to listen to music, or your spouse gifting you a fly rod - it is not about the cheerio, the song or the fly rod. The greatest gifts anyone can give are those straight from the heart and the time they spend with us. Sometimes the greatest gifts we can give are accepting these gifts and seeing the love behind them.
The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.
My advice, if you've been invited to fly fish; Take their hand, and let them lead you to the water. You can take this advice metaphorically or literally. We never know how long we have and we can't be sure what moments will make or break a relationship. All we can do is put down the device, focus on the person, seize the moment, and do our best to show those we love how we feel. In the end, the only thing we will wish for is more time. In our lives let's spend that valuable treasure on those that mean the most. After all, today's moments are tomorrow's memories..