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  • Writer's pictureJason Weening


What’s something you could do outside with your kids this spring? 

Have you ever taken them for a canoe ride out in a swamp? 

I have…and it didn’t end well.

I thought it would be a good idea to take some of my kids out for a canoe this spring. Unfortunately our canoe was stolen a few years ago. I hopped online and was able to find a few new (to us) canoes. 

Since I couldn’t take all nine of our kids in one canoe I had to divide and conquer. I chose a mix of paddlers and passengers for the first trip, ages 12, 9, and 7. All inexperienced canoeists. All experienced swimmers. Good thing.

The kids were excited to be there. Some wildlife made a stir as we floated by. The kids were happy to see lots of ducks, some beavers and they even caught a snake of the non-venomous variety. (If they had masks and snorkels they may have seen some fish later in the journey).

We floated (and “portaged”) our way through the highs and lows of the swamp until it opened up into the main river. Now we were really cruising as we headed north with the current. 

There were a few low-hanging branches that we navigated around. I thought it would be fun to go under a really low-hanging branch. As the kids looked around at birds and trees my expert rudder control steered us directly into the path of the oncoming flora.

The events that followed have been interpreted differently by some eye-witnesses but here’s how I recall it. 

As we approached the branch my son leaned to the right to avoid it. Then my other son did. Then my daughter did. Then I did. Then the canoe did. (Canoes are vehicles with rather poor right-leaning functionality).

When I popped my head out of the water I did a quick check that all parties were accounted for. They were. They even had the good sense to swim for shore. 

I had the good sense to get my phone out of my pocket as fast as I could (she still works). The canoe was starting to go down so I did my best to pull her to shore before she was lost to the briny deep. Most of our belongings were saved but I had to unload the wads of cash from my wallet to dry out when we got home. Not.

Anyways, we all lived to tell the tale. Once they were dry the kids actually said it was a fun memory. It was. 

But if we had sat around watching Netflix all weekend we wouldn’t have made that memory. 

Dad, is there something you can do outside with your kids this spring? There’s so many options! Go for a hike…a bike ride...a canoe (careful, now). Plant a garden. Play catch. 

You’ve got what it takes, dad. Time flies! Make every moment count.

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