PARENTING: Pere Marquette, where "pere" means father, especially to my tween girl

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Let me just point out, I’m not a fisherwoman, but an avid fisherman’s wife. I know that puts me in a category with many other significant others who patiently endure hours of alone time while our husbands lock themselves up in solitary rooms tying flies, or go on their weekend (or week long) fishing trips. We endure this because we love them and we know that without fishing, they wouldn’t be whole. My husband comes back from these moments balanced and at peace with the world, with a smile on his face. And I love that.

But peace, balance and smiles were what we’ve been lacking a lot lately. Our daughter has hit puberty at the young age of 10 with full force, and my husband doesn’t know what hit him. The emotional, stormy seas that make up a tween girl’s life takes patience and understanding to navigate, two things that all of us have been struggling with. Once school let out for the summer, I suggested that they take some time away, just the two of them, to our daughter’s Godfather’s fishing cottage on the Pere Marquette river. My husband got that predictable gleam in his eye, and thought he could teach our daughter the art of fly fishing. What better to calm a stormy, emotional sea than a lazy, peaceful river? And the irony of “Pere” meaning “father” in French was not lost on me either. I suggested I would come up to join them towards the tail end of the trip, to get some R&R myself, as well as make sure the two of them hadn’t strangled each other.

It seemed my worries were unwarranted. I underestimated the healing power of a river. The power of a father taking his daughter to get fitted for her first waders. The power of a daughter having her Dad’s complete attention as he showed her the rhythm and magic of casting. The meditative power of being one with your line and the motion of a river’s current. The power of fun and laughter echoing across the water when stepping into deep spots or catching sight of a fish jumping. The sight of them together as they tackled the beautiful Pere Marquette was something I feel so fortunate to have witnessed one morning, as fisherwives do, sitting on the bank with a cup of coffee, a good book and a camera.

My husband and daughter have a tenuous peace for now. They have tightened their bond with some fishing line. The stormy seas have cleared for now. And a quiet, peaceful river has taken it’s place.

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