While on vacation this summer we took a deep sea fishing trip. While I enjoyed the ride out to the middle of the ocean with the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair, that wasn’t exactly what the excursion was about. Our goal was to catch A LOT of fish for our fish fry the next evening. In fact my mother in-law let us know on more than one occasion how important it was to catch plenty of fish. How hard could it be? We were on a chartered boat. Their only job is to take people fishing…to catch fish. They know where the fish are because they are professionals! They do this for a living and while weather can play a large role in the number and type of fish you might catch these charter boats boast about never coming home empty handed. No worries, Mimi, we got this!
Let me just tell you up front that I didn’t catch a Barracuda, a shark or, if I am being honest, a single fish worthy of taking home. Sure, I caught some fish and every single time the “captain” would look at me and say, “not big enough, too small, pretty, but can’t keep it.” It didn’t take long for him to stop commenting altogether. He would just take the fish and throw it back into the ocean.
Meanwhile, the itty bitty cousins spent 45 minutes trying to reel in a Barracuda, not once, but twice. My father in-law wrangled with a shark for nearly 30 minutes before the “big one got away.” The other 10 family members just kept reeling the “right sized” fish in and throwing them in the cooler. It was depressing after awhile. I even tried fishing with someone else’s bait just in case mine was bad. I am not even joking when I say that I didn’t get a single bite when I used the other bait.
On the way back in during my drug-induced coma…I mean, while I was sleeping off the effects of my motion sickness prevention medicine I started thinking about my fishing experience and how much it resembled real life sometimes. How often do we feel like we just don’t make the cut? Sometimes we feel like no matter what we do we just aren’t enough. Or maybe you feel like the Barracuda and you are just too much to handle.
This week, my third and youngest daughter began high school. There have been a lot of discussions leading up to this moment. Truth be told she has been listening to our girl power, be YOU, be confident, strong, kind, funny, giving, humble, honest talks since she was little because of her two older sisters. Theoretically, she should be well-versed and ready to handle anything thrown her way. Theoretically.
On day 3, like every day, I asked her how she was liking high school and if she had met any new friends. Her response was, “No. And just in case you are wondering no boys like me, they don’t talk to me, don’t look at me. There is obviously something wrong with me. All of my friends have boys talking to them. Also, tomorrow they are making cuts at volleyball tryouts and I am freaking out that I am not good enough to be on a team.”
I was pretty sure this wasn’t the time to tell her I was extremely happy and relieved that there weren’t any boys talking to her let alone looking at her.
It got me thinking about that fishing trip again. I caught a lot of beautiful fish that day, they just weren’t what we were looking for on that day and on that particular excursion. There was nothing wrong with any of the fish I reeled in. Some of them just needed time to grow and mature. It didn’t make me feel any better about not catching the “right” fish, but it was the truth and the reality is that sometimes being patient, understanding and waiting your turn is hard.
So this is what I said to my sweet girl: “Baby, you are beautiful inside and out and I am here to tell you that those boys see you. They may not be talking to you, but trust me…they see you. Just keep being you. They might be looking at you and thinking there is no way they are good enough for YOU. Just keep being you. Don’t look at your friends and think they have that special something and that you need to change in any way to be like them. Just keep being you. And while you are being you, talk to everyone, make new friends, be confident, strong, kind, giving, funny, humble and honest. High school isn’t always easy and sometimes you are going to feel like don’t make the cut. There will be times when you don’t make the team or you aren’t what someone is looking for, but I promise you there will come a time when you are exactly what someone is looking for. Just keep being you.”
I hope she heard me somewhere deep in her soul because while this sounds good in theory, it’s hard when we don’t make the cut.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G