Swim first, feed fish later. That’s the lakeside lesson I learned the hard way yesterday as I watched my two grandchildren.
It was a hot morning and I knew that swimming would be part of the plan for the morning, but being it was only 8am I thought we would begin the day with feeding the little fish that swim around our shore as I enjoyed my last sips of my morning coffee. I opened the bag of stale cereal and handed Maddie and Grant the small tidbits to throw out to the swimming fish that frequented our lake. Each time they threw a nibble into the water they would quickly giggle “He ate mine! He ate mine!” It was a delight to watch their joy in the simple morning activity.
As the sun rose brighter over the horizon, the heat and humidity spiked as well, and we knew it was time to get our suits on and jump in. We quickly changed out of our pjs and into our suits. We slathered on the sunscreen and I reminded them that I was alone today and we would only be able to swim near the edge. “No jumping off the dock today!” I shared with my daredevil four year old swimming granddaughter, Maddie. “Bebe needs to watch both of you so we need to stay close to the stairs.”
As we approached the steps into the lake the hesitation began. The oldest looked tentatively down at the stairs where a few minutes before we were engaged in a fishing feeding frenzy. Maddie spotted a fish about ten feet away from her toes and quickly bolted back to the grass. I walked into the lake and splashed around announcing that fish do not like splashes, and besides THEY are afraid of us. She stiffened her face, as well as her body, and looked skeptically around the waters to make sure the coast was clear. She moved slowly to the steps and peered in every direction before proceeding further into the waters. With each step she glanced to the left and right to guarantee that my words were true. When she spotted a fish she darted back towards the stairs and announced the need for me to make bigger splashes in an effort to eradicate the fish forever!
After much effort and splash, we finally made it into the water waist deep. We swam over to the little slide attached to our small peddle boat. Each time Maddie made it to the top of the slide, she quickly swept her eyes in every direction to ensure there were no swimming creatures within her field of vision. With each jump she feverishly paddled her long arms to reach the boat with purpose and quickly hopped on for fear of the sea creatures. Needless to say it was an exhausting swim with lots of splashes being made to ward of those little perch, that probably appeared as the biggest sea monsters ever to her. After about twenty minutes of this anxious fun, we called it quits. I found it quite exhausting to splash away the dangers that lurked in our waters after each jump. We walked out of the lake and toweled off, deciding it was not a good time to swim. I decided we needed a calm and peaceful activity so I pulled out the watercolors and we quietly painted in the shade of a nearby tree while the birds tweeted overhead.
While we all had an exciting and memorable morning, this grandmother learned a big lake life lesson yesterday for sure: swim first and fish later, if at all! I just hope the perch survive without their morning cereal.
It’s Tuesday, and I am joining my fellow teacher writing friends over at Two Writing Teachers with a slice of life story. Take a peek and consider joining in!