Paddle to the Cliffs

On the way out.

And, headed back in.

Yesterday, I was making dinner when Seth asked if I would drive him to the end of our road with Gabe’s kayak so he could go explore along the base of some cliffs across the water.  I was really hesitant, partially because I was busy, but also because Seth has never paddled a kayak before and I wasn’t comfortable with him going out alone.  I pulled my usual, and told him to go ask Jonny.  A little while later, Jonny came in from his office and told me that I ought to just take Keats’ kayak and go with Seth.  That thought hadn’t even crossed my mind, even though I’ve been saying for a long time now that I want to start kayaking.  It seems like a good way to work on upper body strength, which I am sorely lacking in, while being outside.  The problem outside of time and equipment is that I am not good at trying new things.  While I was too adventurous before I had children, over the years since becoming a mom it’s possible that I have become overly cautious.

Jonny assured me that I wouldn’t flip the kayak (I don’t think I’ve ever told you the story about going canoeing with Jonny’s friend Ed back in college…there was a lot of flipping the canoe involved!)  and before I could put too much thought into it (“It’s almost dinner time…I have too much to do…I’m scared“), I changed clothes, grabbed a hat and some water and said, “Okay!”  Seth was really excited for us to do this together, and that made me happy.

Once we set out, we only had an hour before Jonny would be returning to pick us up, so we didn’t waste time.  The water was almost perfectly calm, but I felt awfully wobbly as Seth and I paddled out into what seemed like the abyss.  Seth was completely confident and that helped me to be brave.  I experienced a perfect combination of fear and thrill.  One of the most profound aspects of this little adventure was realizing that I was being led by my child.  Every day I look at him and can’t believe that he’s nearly fifteen, only seven years younger than I was when he was born!

Despite being deeply tired, I’ve carried yesterday’s smiles with me all day long.  I know what I want for my birthday, though I don’t think I can wait until December!


  1. I don’t know why, but this installment brought tears to my eyes. I love that you did this with your son. Perhaps the influx of tears might be explained by the fact that my daughter just graduated high school, left to work for the summer at a local overnight camp and will be leaving a short 2-4 weeks after her job ends in August to go to college.

  2. so very adventurous and the memories you are making with your son are priceless. I hope you get what you wish for 🙂

  3. Kristen says:

    I love this line: “While I was too adventurous before I had children, over the years since becoming a mom it’s possible that I have become overly cautious.” So true for me as well!

  4. I love watching you indulge your boy’s request!

  5. Yesterday I signed up for a Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga class. I have never done SUP or Yoga before. I was so excited for my first class, but it got rained out. I am sure I am going to be VERY wobbly my first try and I am sure someone should be close by with a video camera. But I’m always up for a new challenge 🙂 We are heading to VA for a week of camping. We are bringing our Travel Trailers and my friend has 3 kayaks on his truck he is bringing down. I think we will be too far from you for you to swing by and join us for a paddle 🙁 Someday!!!!

  6. PS Job……Awwwwww, too adorable

  7. Love these pics. I can’t believe Seth is only nearly 15! He looks so grown up. I remember always resenting having my picture taken but now, as a mum, I love to capture memories. I guess I can see it from both sides. Seth takes a great picture anyways!

  8. Sounds wonderful! Now I think you could knit a whole bunch of items for your early christmas gift…a cushion to sit upon, a water bottle cozy, a pair of fingerless mitts with some special yarn for grip or better yet, a knitted grip cozy for your paddle. Oh, and some washable wool to go over your life jacket (no, that would be too heavy when wet and defeat the purpose of the jacket). Hmmm….anyway, what a blessing to have that time together.

  9. Loved this! My oldest daughter turns 40 next year. I am more flummoxed by that than me turning 60! Where in the world does the time go and all those memories? Make as many as you can……it’s such precious, blessed time.

  10. Way to go! You made a memory that Seth will have forever! Priceless!

  11. Looks like you had wonderful time.

  12. I didn’t make my comment clear. I have a hard time figuring out what to do with my 16, 13 and 10 year old sons. It’s easy to figure out mom/daughter things. 🙂

  13. What a great mom and son activity! I have three sons and one daughter and have a hard time figuring out what we can do together. 🙂

  14. Wonderful!

  15. funny how you post beautiful pictures and tell a beautiful story and all I can think of is “he’s taller than she is?!”.
    my son is actively working on that too. wasn’t he in a diaper yesterday?!

  16. What a lovely time! Oh, I so relate to looking at your child and measuring the years ~ my daughter is 15 and I had her when I was 21 and I catch myself often thinking and measuring and knowing HOW FAST five years goes by!

  17. We have a very large lake almost within walking distance and many of our neighbors kayak. I have had the desire, but fear of getting out in the middle of a large lake and freaking out has kept me from trying. That and the enormous dam the water runs toward. Maybe I need one of my big brave boys to help me. Yesterday (which happened to be my birthday) I needed to leave to go pick my daughter up from dance camp. I asked my 18yo to please move his dad’s truck as it was behind my car in the drive. He answered “Drive it, birthday girl!” so I did! I had never before and it seems silly to be afraid to drive a big pick-up truck, but his confidence gave me courage, so I know just what you mean.

  18. Sounds like fun, and I love the picture of you giving him the “punch”!

  19. Deborah says:

    Joy, joy , joy! So sweet! xxx

  20. Such a great feeling, to conquer a fear and have fun at the same time! I’m inspired to do more adventurous things with my kids (because I usually talk myself out of leaving in the middle of making dinner).

  21. I’m so glad you did it, Ginny! Thanks for this encouragement for all us mamas to be more brave and say “yes!” Look at the results! Beautiful!

  22. You are beaming with joy! Such a beautiful thing to see – thank you for sharing this most special moment with us.

  23. It is so wonderful to see you happy and smiling….

  24. It is so much fun to watch your kids enter adulthood. I still can’t get over being driven around Miami by my daughter! She is so … grown up!
    I need to get kayaking. It is the best — and most scenic — way to build upper-body strength!

  25. How fun! I tried out my uncle’s kayak a year or so ago, and it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. Usually if I’m on the water it’s on a motorboat with other people–the solitude and silence of a kayak made for a whole new experience.

    I’ve got a line from one of your recent posts, on saying yes because childhood is short, taped to my computer where I see it every day. I’m trying to remind myself to say yes more often, even when I don’t feel like it, even when I have stuff to do. Thanks for being an inspiration!

  26. I have a tipping canoe story — but it was in middle school with my scout troop and we all just thought it would be fun! …on the day we were to drive back home from camp and the cars were already packed up with our bags… Now that I’m an adult I can see what a bad idea that was 🙂

    Glad you had a good time – the lake looks peaceful and paddling is such good exercise.

  27. I am so inspired every time I read a story here with the premise that a child asks to do something, and the easy answer is no but you say yes anyway, and great things happen. This helps me say yes in my daily life. THANK YOU! Also, mind if I ask how the amber is working? Any noticeable difference in pain?

    • Saying yes usually works out, though there is often a giant mess to contend with afterwards. 🙂 You know, I am not sure what I think about the amber and my wrists. I haven’t been knitting enough in one sitting to be able to tell??? I am pretty skeptical about amber for pain relief in general, but have always bought the necklaces because I think amber is beautiful. I would love to think the bracelets are helping, but I really can’t say. Maybe I will take them off in a week or so and then see if my wrists start feeling worse?

  28. Cassidy says:

    Yes! You are gorgeous in these pictures! So much joy .

  29. This sounds so much like me–a hesitant mental “No”–a “Go ask your dad”–and then a husband who tells me to go it as well! We have good and wise men Ginny. And the look on Seth’s face proves their wisdom.

  30. Ginny,
    What a fun thing for you guys to do together. Isn’t it great when we can say yes to something before we talk ourselves out of it? You are beaming in those pictures, just radiating happiness. 🙂


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