Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lessons I Learned about child rearing from My Dad Teaching me to Water Ski - Father's Day

When I was a pint sized nine year old my Dad decided I needed to learn to water ski. 

He knew a few things about teaching a child to ski. 
My Dad positioned me near the shore in water that he could stand in with the boat out in the deeper water at the end of the ski rope.  My Dad taught me to keep my ski tips straight and together. 
He taught me to keep the rope tight between my skis and hold on tight.  I sat in the water with my body in a C shape and because of his encouragement I knew that I needed to be prepared to stand up as I came out of the water. 

My Dad said "Hit it!"

His friend gave the boat some gas and I wobbled and partially stood before I crashed back into the water.  Patiently, the boat was turned around and moved into place for our next try.  I don't know how many tries it took to get me up onto my skis, but I remember the time that my dad spent tenderly teaching and guiding me.  I remember my dad giving me a push upward as the boat would begin to pull me. 
My pint sized body was propelled out of the water as my dad gave me a boost to help me to stand.
I was skiing!  My little nine year old body flew along Deer Creek Reservoir.  I was doing it!  I was skiing!  I remember however looking back and thinking, my Dad can't see me.  It was hard for me to go and ski out of his sight.  I had left him behind in the water.  But, the thing I did not understand was the feeling of pride he must have felt as he watched me disappear.
As a mother of seven I am learning about watching my children go.
Now I am the one in the water.
I am here preparing them, keep yourself straight...
Hold on tight to what we have taught you.
Look up toward the Heavens for your guidance.
Now we are saying, you can do it, we will give you a boost.
It's okay that you made a mistake, try again.

And then I watch them go.

I watched them go and return from their missions tearfully, but with so much pride.
They had struggles and triumphs while they were out, but they did it!
I have a whole house full coming up in various stages. 
A whole house full who are learning to go out on their own.
My young adult children have expressed worry at times over needing a soft place to fall. 
"How will I ever be an adult Mom if I keep having to come back for help."
The thing that I learned form my Dad teaching me to ski is this how families work. 
We watch the kids go, but guess what? 

Just like the boat comes back to where you are camped on the beach, the kids come back. 

Hopefully they come back often as the years go by.
We will always be here for them to come back and visit and to give each other a boost of encouragement. 

This is what family is about.

Thank you Dad and Mom for all that you have taught me.  Thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for teaching me to stand and for the encouragement you have given me over the years. 

Happy Father's Day Dad! 


  1. I have been out of town and am just now catching up on blog reading. I love this post. Our youngest just terned 18 yesterday so I am in that "letting go" season and have been for several years now. So glad both of your missionaries returned safely. Our son has been called to serve in Mexico and leaves October 15. Enjoy what's left of the week!

  2. Such beautiful thoughts, really. That story wouldn't work with my experience because I never figured out how to get up and water ski. :) Love all of your pics!!

  3. Valerie, After my Mom and Dad read my post they told me a few things I did not remember well from my water skiing lesson. My Dad apparently during many attempts he ran next to me in the water holding my life jacket near my ears dangling me until the water was too deep in repeated attempt to teach me. Pretty comical.