Trauma on the Labor Day kayaking trip!
Monday, September 03, 2012
I invited everyone I know to come kayaking with me today. And then I announced a 10 am launch time. Strangely enough, only my parents were available that early in the morning...everyone else had other plans (mostly sleeping in!)
So we launched at 10, and made it about a mile. Then, we got to a juncture where there were downed trees and branches. I yelled back to my parents to beach themselves so we could walk around the logjams...since this was only their second time ever in kayaks.
My dad got over and out okay, but mom....she got caught in the current and slammed into one of the trees. I was already on my way to her when she tipped over...and then my dad and I saw the kayak hit her in the head and flip over on top of her.
I can tell you right now, my heart stopped for a couple of seconds. I jumped out and lifted the kayak off her within just a few seconds of her tipping over, and she was perfectly safe and still conscious. She did have a bruised nose, and lost her glasses, but she wasn't seriously hurt or anything.
THANK GOD!! I was sooo upset, and within about two minutes my parents were laughing it off and joking about our "exciting" adventure for the day! While I was still trying to get my pulse and breathing under control, I might add!
Which was when we discovered that, in addition to the glasses, she had lost her paddle. The glasses...dad said it was the universe telling her that she was WAY overdue for an eye exam and a new pair, but it's a bit hard to kayak...okay, how often do you get to say it?! She was up the creek without a paddle!
And this was where I started laughing at the whole thing.
I tied her kayak to mine and started paddling. For those who have tried this, IT IS NOT EASY!! I had a lot of trouble steering. Mom's kayak would get caught in a current and jerk me sideways...and while it's not a dangerous waterway by any means, there are a few "rapids" going over the rocks. Trying to navigate with her kayak tied to me was NOT fun. At one point, her kayak did a full 180 and she was going backward into the rapids, dragging me around too...
At a certain point, though, you either laugh or cry. My dad and mom were LAUGHING as I got us turned back around and out of the rapids. And it wasn't more than half a mile or so before I saw a canoe paddle on the side of the creek. I started shouting "PADDLE!" over and over again, and when the current tried to spin me around I started shouting "F*** IT!!" and paddling backwards. The only danger in that instance: mom was laughing so hard she almost fell out of the kayak, and dad was laughing so hard he almost hit a rock.
So it was an...interesting adventure today. I'm still a little traumatized from watching my mom tip over. She was a swimmer, diver, and lifeguard for years. But that doesn't help much if you get hit in the head! She's fine, she and dad laughed during the trip, and after the trip, and called a couple of close friends to tell them all about it. And, amazingly enough, they weren't trying to make me feel better...they made plans with the kayak rental place for two weeks from now (weather cooperating, of course!)
I learned to love the outdoors from them, and we canoed and camped and hiked all the time growing up. I never once thought about how hard it would be to watch loved ones get hurt...and it happened to my brother and I several times over the years. We tipped the canoes, we fell on the trails and rolled down hills and into the creeks when we tripped, once we were rough-housing and brought the tent down on top of ourselves! And I never once thought about how terrifying that must have been for my parents.
But they reminded me that these things happen sometimes. It's a choice we all have to make, knowing that we might get bruised and scraped but that we'd miss out on a lot by NOT going.
Phew! Glad to be home and safe! And as soon as my mom's bruise fades and she has new glasses, I'll probably be laughing about this and telling all of my friends and coworkers, too!