I took my kids and some of their friends to the river this afternoon. The temperature was in the high 90s and I knew it would be a quick trip before the storms rolled in. The little guys stuck close to my ‘rock’ and only went knee deep. They had a blast balancing on fallen trees and jumping from rock to rock. The big boys rode the rapids and were ever cognizant of the clouds rolling in. I was watching them all from my perch on the rock in the James. A rather bold duck started to join me on my rock so I reached for some goldfish crackers, threw them in and it went back into the water.
That’s when I heard Ethan scream. The boys were on their last ride down the rapids and they heard it too. We all came running from different directions. I could see him grabbing his foot and Eva and her friend were only a yard away from him. As I got closer I realized that he had stepped on a fishing hook. It must not have been all the way in because he pulled it out and some random man came to his rescue and untangled the hook and line from his shoe. Ethan didn’t stop screaming as we returned to my perch to look at his foot. Fortunately, the cut wasn’t that big. It only needed a little antibiotic cream.
As we were looking at his foot and the kids were drying off, I noticed that the contents of my beach bag were scattered and the duck had another bag of goldfish. The bold duck had called his family over and we now had three baby ducks and three adult ducks. The ducks started to fight over the goldfish and one duck bit another duck and held it under the water. Ethan started crying again and the boys got ready and picked up pebbles to try to separate them. The mean duck let the other one up but it was clear he was hurt pretty badly. He was swimming sideways and it looked like his leg was broken and his back was no longer straight. It was the most aggressive act I have ever seen in nature. To top it all off, a baby came over and attacked that duck.
Our hour at the river was over as far as I was concerned so I hurried the kids along so we didn’t have to witness anymore duck bullying incidents. One of Alex’s friends looked at me and said, “It’s always an adventure isn’t it?”
And it is always an adventure. Fish hooks, fighting ducks, knocking out teeth…it’s always something. Always an adventure but also always something else. We have 7 kids sleeping here tonight (4 of our own). For the better part of the last hour they have been on the couch together playing on my iPad – all 7 of them ranging in age from 5-13. I’ll take all the messy adventures if it means I get to see moments like that.