Being the mom of a fly fisher can be a thankless job. Why? Under “normal” circumstances, being a mom is often thankless. So much is done and so much goes unseen. Especially in the pre-teen and teenage years, there can be a lot of heartache and anxiety and frustration. That is best-case scenario. Add to that the eccentricities and weird minutiae of fly fishing, and parenting is a challenge.
So many moms embrace that challenge. They do so without thanks and they do so in unseen ways. Their child fly fishes, and “normal” motherhood becomes something eccentric and weird.
Being the mom of a fly fisher means a lot of things.
It means learning all about trout vs. bass and line weights and why things cost so much money. Then, conversing about these topics with various levels of convincing, but feigned, interest.
It means finding feathers, fur, and fused carpet fibers all over the house. Hopefully you don’t find flies with your bare feet. If so, hopefully your child debarbs his or her hooks.
It means coming to terms with the fact that there are now some very, very precious items that will receive an inordinate amount of care and attention. While beds won’t be made, laundry can’t make it into the hamper, and jacket after jacket get left who knows where, fly rods get treated like the crown jewels.
It means driving to random towns – or locations nowhere near any traces of civilization – simply as a form of transportation. Once you’re there, you get to figure out how to entertain yourself with limited cell service. If you’re lucky.
It means altering your laundry routine to accommodate socks that have to be turned inside out and shirts that can’t be tumble dried on hot. All the while, dealing with the smell that emanates from waders and wading boots.
It means realizing that all the other people who fly fish are either real old guys or young adults with tattoos, beards, and trucker hats. You didn’t think you’d get to revisit the stranger danger talk from early childhood, but you do.
It means worrying because your child is driving to remote places all on their own. Eventually it will be overnight. There are all the normal away from home concerns, with being out in the woods added to the mix.
It means giving fly fishing a shot, if only to patronize. There’s a chance you’ll like it. There’s also a chance that all of the fancy equipment and romantic elements of the sport don’t make touching a live fish any more fun for you,
All of those things matter, because fly fishing means something to your son or daughter. Being a good mom means being involved, while balancing it somewhere between enmeshed and aloof. Loving and caring for a child with the love and care of a mother carries an immensity that I can’t know. It is a love that tolerates infatuations and obsessions, that tolerates long trips to fly shops for five dollar purchases, that tolerates grumpiness because of getting skunked.
Being a mom means you deserve a lot of credit and appreciation. Being the mom of a fly fisher means that, and more, for all the reasons listed above.
Happy Mother’s Day from Casting Across.