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Emily’s 4th Birthday…

We’ve moved from our lake side house to a tiny apartment just over 2 months ago…. why we made that move is a story for another day!

Today we are talking about fishing!

For Emily’s 4th Birthday, we rented a cottage for the weekend.  We were in the woods at the Fairmont Kenauk with access to a river for fishing.

Our guest list was impressive and we were all staying in the same cottage!

Emily, Jon and I.  My dad and his wife.  My mom.  My in-laws.  Melanie (Emily’s god mother). My big brother, his wife and their 2 boys.  My little brother.  13 people in 1 cottage.

We had a blast!

We wanted to take Emily fishing on a small boat but she refused to get on the boat so Jon sat on the dock with her and took time to explain to her how to fish….  They caught absolutely nothing but I took one of the most beautiful picture ever…  My husband and his baby girl fishing.  🙂  She was so small!


Later that weekend, my father-in-law suggested we took Emily to the hatchery so she could at least catch a fish!

If you don’t know what a hatchery is, google it!  Its where you “grow” fish 🙂  The last pond in the process is full of really nice trouts just waiting to be picked up and dropped in a lake somewhere on the property.

For a fee, someone can fish in there…..  you can barely call it fishing…  the fish are almost jumping out to come see you 🙂

Emily was still new at walking so standing on the side of the lake to fish was somewhat dangerous.  Fred (my father-in-law) suggested we sat Emily on a bucket…. an upside-down bucket that is.

This takes us to this second picture….  Once again, an amazing picture.


Emily caught some trouts and was super excited that she could fish!  One more thing we could cross off her list!  She was a fisherman!!!

From that point on, whenever Emily saw Jon’s fishing rod out, she got excited because she thought she was going fishing.  Whenever he went fishing without her, she got upset….  She didn’t speak but it was obvious that she wasn’t pleased with her dad!  When we saw Jon’s parents, Emily was hoping to go fishing…  Jon and his dad enjoyed fishing and Emily knew it.


8 years later, my father-in-law passed suddenly and we opened-up our house to our family. Many people came by after the funeral.  We were obviously all sad, we were trying to make sense of a tragic loss and we were sharing memories and drinking to the memory of a great man…

Suddenly Emily asked if she could say something.



This is always a little awkward, we never know what Emily will say, never know if it will be appropriate to the situation or if she is going to talk about Justin Bieber…..


That day, we were all family… everybody knew Emily…  we gave her the floor.

Emily was 12 years old…

As she stood in the middle of our kitchen she told everybody that her best memory was of her grand father teaching her how to fish. She told the story of her birthday party and that her “papie” took her to the pond and turn the bucket upside-down so she could sit and fish with her little purple rod…

She understood perfectly what was going on.

At the hospital, I had asked her if she would like to go see her “papie” and she said no.  When the doctors told us it was over, I tried to explain to her what was going on… instead she explained it to me.

“Papie is gone, I won’t see him anymore but he is in my heart.  I can still talk to him, in my heart”

She understood perfectly what was going on…  She didn’t cry…  It took months for her to even talk about her “papie”… actually, she didn’t talk about it, she wrote a story at school about how she sings to her “papie” when she misses him.  She sings “I miss you” from Miley Cyrus…

She understood…

My daughter, the one with the extremely rare syndrome was the one who understood what was going on…  Of all the people impacted by the loss of a great man who left us way too early, she understood how to grief and understood that if she believed he was still with her, he would forever be with her.

From the day she was born, they were connected and from what Emily is telling me, they still are!

In thinking of the people you have lost, could you do like Emily and keep them alive within you?  Smile when you think of them? Sing to yourself when you need peace?


11 thoughts on “Fishing

  1. Pingback: Fishing trip | Lessons from my daughter

    • Jonathan’s parents lived far away for the first 6 years of Emily’s life and they still had this amazing connection. The next 6 years, we lived in the same city. His mom is still nearby and she & Emily also have a great relationship. We are really lucky.

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving 2006 | Lessons from my daughter

  3. What a great post and what great memories. I’m in the process of publishing a book of father daughter images and life lessons for dads (similar to my blog lifetoheryears.com), and I actually stumbled onto your post while searching for pictures of dads fishing with their daughters.

    Would you be willing to let me include one of the pictures from this post in the book? In exchange for allowing one of your images to be used, you’d receive written credit in the book and a free copy once it’s published.

    Please let me know if you’d be willing to let one of your pictures be included.

    If this is something you’d be willing to do, will you email me at michael @ lifetoheryears DOT com? I look forward to hearing from you.


    • Michael,
      I just looked up your blog and loved your 50 rules. I have to say that our daughter is lucky as she has a great dad. I picked an amazing man for husband.
      Please let me know which picture you would prefer, I might even have others for you to look at.
      My blog is mostly about mother-daughter relationship but I do have great pictures of Job and Emily.
      I will send you an email with my coordinates.

  4. I’ve been reading your blog with interest and enjoy it very much. For me, it’s like a window into what my family’s life might be like 10 years from now. Our oldest daughter, Katie, also has CDC. She is four. For me, this particular post was a reminder to try harder to “be present” in the now.

    In the day-to-day struggle to raise kids, especially one with special needs, sometimes it can be a fight to just get through the day. Like most CDC kids, Katie has poor expressive communication skills (and a very short attention span). Sometimes it seems like she has no idea what’s going on around her. Yet other times she demonstrates impressive memory and comprehension skills.

    Every one of us has special childhood memories that, as adults, we look back upon with fondness. Even though our CDC kids may not be able to communicate with us about a great experience they had at the time it happens, they are busy making their own cherished memories. Emily’s recollection of the special moment she had with her Papie eight years after it happened is ample proof, and inspiration, to not short-change our kids’ experiences.

    Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to meeting you and your family at the conference in New York next month.

  5. Pingback: “I Go Fish” | DoingStuffDad

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