A first for Choo-choo (and a whole lot of fear for me)

It happened. Something Diesel and I have disagreed on doing since Choo-choo was born. Something I have been absolutely terrified of. Something that was going to happen no matter how I felt. We took our son on his first canoe trip.

Old style white rowboat on a see beach

Diesel has been waiting for the moment that Choo-choo was old enough to go. I, meanwhile, have been dreading it. He’s just a baby, I reasoned every time the subject was brought up. And he was. He was far too little to know how to sit still and be safe. He was too small for even being able to sit in the canoe seat by himself.

Until this year. He is now almost three years old. Choo-choo has reached an age where he knows when to be cautious and when he really, truly, seriously needs to listen to Mommy and Daddy. (For the most part. We are working on that.)

Diesel had given us, Choo-choo and me, a choice of attending a car show or canoeing. I thought I knew for certain what my kid’s answer would be. I mean, I spend all day with him. I know him so well. Of course he was going for the car show.


He didn’t even seem to register the fact that it was an option. “I want to go in the boat!” he said over and over.

“But there’s a car show,” I replied. “With cars and trucks and maybe even motorcycles.”

He just did not care. The allure of doing something brand new was too much. Not even his love of trucks could defeat that.

There was only one thing for me to do. “Yay!” I told him. “I’m so excited!”

And abso-freakin-lutely scared out of my mind at the thought of my sweet little boy, still a baby to me, sitting in a boat out on open water with only foam keeping him floating if, heaven forbid, he should end up in the lake. But that was my issue to deal with, not his. I was not about to put my fears on Choo-choo.

I helped Choo-choo try on his life jacket, which he loved. We then packed up what we needed and headed out to the lake, one Diesel had been to before. I deep breathed the whole time there, telling myself everything was going to be all right. Diesel and I were with Choo-choo; he wasn’t going to be in a boat alone. Diesel is an excellent swimmer. The lake is very calm, no speeding or high wakes allowed. Nothing bad was going to happen.

So, we all got in the boat, and Choo-choo just loved it. His face lit up. I was still freaking out inside, but I tried not to let on. I simply held on to the sides as Diesel paddled us around near the shore.

Then we came upon a channel that connects the calm, serene lake we were in with the super busy, high speed one. I thought for sure we’d keep paddling by, but I was wrong yet again. Diesel turned us into the channel and headed for the other lake. Choo-choo was happy. I was pissed.

I thought perhaps my “What the heck do you think you are doing?!” looks that I sent to Diesel would make him change his mind but no. I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

He sent me back his “It’s fine so relax” look, so I backed off and just breathed. “I’m going to turn us around as soon as we get there,” he added, thinking that would help. Guess he was wrong that day, too, because it so did not at all.

Of course, everything really was okay. After about an hour, hour and a half, Choo-choo grew bored and hungry. He and I shared some snacks, but it wasn’t enough to keep him occupied. He soon grew restless, asking to return to the truck about a dozen times. Not even the shell Diesel scooped out of river for him kept his interest for long.

We now know his limit for being in a boat, and it’s far less time than our typical river trips. I think Diesel’s dream of taking Choo-choo with us on the river will have to wait until next summer. I also know that I can tackle my fears. It helps to have little eyes watching me.

All in all, it was the very best first boat trip we could have wished for as a family.


Author: stepbackandbreathe33

I am a writer, mother, wife, and fighter in the battle against depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD.

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