This past Friday was the opening day of firearm season here in Michigan. For most of my life this day has been one of the biggest days of the year to me. It was a right of passage as a young teenage boy to join my dad in the deer woods.
The day I harvested my first deer is a day I will never forget. Even more exciting was shooting my first buck ever with a bow and arrow!
Since those days as a teen deer hunting has become a way of life; a year round ritual and a means to an end as my family prefers venison to beef.
Last year was a significant year for me in my hunting ritual(s). My oldest daughter joined me. She had tagged along years before but this was different. During the Michigan youth hunting season she harvested her first deer (a buck) with a rifle.
That was the moment of change. I'm not sure that deer hunting will ever be the same for me. Or, at least the ritual of opening day will never be the same.
For the past two season M has joined me on opening day. It certainly has been an adjustment and I wouldn't have it any other way.
We have enjoyed many quiet laughs and even some out loud ones also. We have fought boredom together by entertaining each other (mostly me entertaining her with my renditions of pop songs).
Last friday we even napped together only to wake up with a doe 25 yards away.
I join in her excitment as she raises her rifle and sights through the scope. Her breath becomes shallow and quick. I can fully relate and it excites me to be so close and be able to listen and talk her through the shot.
Neither one of us were able to harvest a deer on Friday; however that's not the point anymore. Opening day has become about M and about me as a dad, not a hunter.
The reality is that she will not always want or be able to join me for opening day so I better take advantage of this while I can.
It doesn't matter what your hobby is. You don't have to be a hunter. Find something that you and your child(ren) like to do together and do it. Forget about yourself and make this one thing about them. You will get your rewards both now and in the future.
Next weekend I have hunting dates with our youngest daughter and then my wife. I consider myself to be extremely lucky that the women in my life care to join me in my hobbies as I care to join them in theirs. Afterall, that is how relationships work.
There must be give and take!