Several weeks ago, we were packing to leave our family cabin. My wife was inside, filling our bags, which I dutifully carried to the car. During one of my trips back and forth, I noticed Jack, my 5-year-old son, sitting on the grass with his head down. I didn’t think much of it until I asked him what he was doing.
He looked up with tears in his eyes and proclaimed his sadness about having to leave the cabin. He was particularly bummed that a weekend of fishing was coming to an end.
While I identified with him completely – I remember feeling the same way as a youngster, and to some extent, I still do – I didn’t give it much thought once we got home. Later that night, he went to bed. Shortly thereafter, we could hear him sniffling. He was trying not to make noise, but couldn’t help himself. He was crying because he missed the cabin and missed going fishing.
The same thing happened when we came home after an extended stay over the Fourth of July. On the morning we were to leave, he came down the cabin stairs with big tears in his eyes, though he did his best to play it cool. But after he went to bed later that evening, the waterworks started again. There was a litany of things he said he was going to miss about the cabin, but fishing once again topped the list.
As I talked to him that night, I told him about how I felt the same way when I was a kid. I remember feeling sad whenever we came home from the lake, or from the hunting shack. I remember how it felt like forever before we’d be able to go back.
All I could see in Jack’s face were raw emotions as he listened to me, and I could tell I wasn’t doing a very good job of comforting him. After a few minutes, I recalled what my wife had said to me just before I went into his room: “Tell him we’ll bring home a rod and reel and some tackle when we’re at the cabin next.”
So that’s what I did. The tears stopped flowing and he smiled a huge smile when I asked if that sounded good. I guess it goes to show that no matter how old you are, a rod and reel and a few pieces of tackle are a great recipe for happiness.