This was our very first boat outing as a family, so you'll have to forgive me for being so naive.
Trying to fit the entire family in the boat didn't look like much of a challenge to me. Sure I'm fanatical about seat belts and car seats in the van, but this was a boat! Don't ask me why that made a difference to me. My thought process isn't very consistent. My husband, OTOH is much more logical. He knew that his cousin was going along to the same area which meant that we could split the kids between the two boats. We all found our places and put on our life-jackets as my husband carefully steered the boat into the canal. When I sat down, I discovered a slight problem with my life-jacket. It didn't fit. Sitting down pushed it up over my face. Then there was the fact that I could slip the whole thing right over my head altogether. My husband rolled his eyes as I pointed out that if it came off that easily while I was sitting down, it wouldn't do much good if I was knocked unconscious after being thrown from the boat. I wasn't going to be thrown out of the boat he insisted. My oldest daughter, who stands several inches taller than me, swapped her jacket for mine and we both got a better fit.
Impatient to get going, hubby started roaring down the canal as soon as I finished zipping the jacket. Actually, the increased speed might have begun even BEFORE I finished getting the jacket situated. Startled, I threw my arms around my baby girl and braced myself for the ride. That's when I discovered that holding a child on my lap in a boat meant having my face assaulted by thousands of tiny, needle like whips. Who knew that hair could be classified as a dangerous weapon?
Okay, you can stop calling me a wimp now. I didn't cry or anything. It was just an unusual sensation. Really. Stop laughing at me or else I'm going to have to start writing birth stories. You don't want that do you? I didn't think so.
Hair whips aside, the ride down the canal was kinda wonderful. Clusters of elephant ear plants lined the banks. Every now and again I'd spy an ancient cypress tree dripping with Spanish moss. There was a wooden cabin just down a side canal that caught my attention. I would have loved to take pics of all of those things, but getting the camera out as we zoomed along doing 70 mph just wasn't happening. Finally, right before the canal opened up into the lake, I managed to get hubby to slow down enough for me to take a picture of the striking water lilies. I didn't, however, manage to get him to take the time to pull closer to the lilies, so unfortunately it isn't a very GOOD picture.
We sped off again and hit the lake itself. That's when the fun really began. As we bounced from wave to wave, our oldest daughter squealed in delight and our youngest daughter slid down to the floor gripping my legs as tightly as she could. Me? Well, while I was jolted up and down in my seat, I reflected heavily on my last cup of green tea. Drinking it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. In fact, avoiding all liquids for at least two days before attempting the trip would have been surely been a much better option.
After an eternity of rough riding (it lasted at LEAST five minutes!) we arrived at our destination. The boats were tied up and everyone got into the water. Almost everyone. Anna (the youngest) wasn't quite ready to venture in, so I stayed in the boat with her while she built up her courage. After a bit, I realized that it wasn't fear of the water that was holding her back. Her little face showed a discomfort that I easily understood. She had to pee. I knew the feeling. Hubby overheard us discussing our mutual problem and told us to just go in the water.
I could do that.
It wasn't going to happen.
Anna insisted that she couldn't either, but at least she was able to put her discomfort aside and begin to enjoy the water. I smiled and tried really hard to not think about the return trip across the lake. Eventually, I didn't have to
Later, just before bedtime, Anna made a small confession. She motioned me closer and whispered "Guess what? I pee'd a little bit on daddy when he held me in the water."
Ah, the unabashed joys of youth.