The culmination of a weekend of fishing and canoeing was my daughter in the ER getting seven stitches in her hip, the result of taking a tumble on the slick rocks. Yes, there will be a scar, but it won’t be visible unless she wears a string bikini, which will never happen as long as she lives under my roof. Or turns 30, whichever come first.
An angry relative asked me how I “could put my daughter at risk like that,” risk meaning possible injury and potential infection from the river water. My indignant reply was that I would rather risk stitches than have her become a couch potato and suffer from obesity. Drastic comparison perhaps, but I really think that a sedentary lifestyle is just as dangerous as the risk of falls, or cuts, or bee stings, or any other potential problem we might encounter in the outdoors. The camaraderie we build as a family does not happen in front of the television (which is one reason we don’t have one). Video games do not teach resourcefulness like backpacking does. Facebook will never replace campgrounds as my social network of choice.
Am I keeping my very active daughter as still as possible till the stitches heal? You bet. Will I take her out again? Of course. That scar might be a reminder to be more careful on the rocks, but it’s also a reminder of a great trip our family experienced, and the stories we’ll share from it. I’ll defend that risk any day.
Traci Schauf is a college instructor, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and obsessed outdoorswoman who divides her residency between Oklahoma and Kansas. With her family, she canoes, kayaks, bikes, hikes, backpacks and fishes. She hosts her own daily blogs about her family and outdoor life at http://momonvacation.blogspot.com and healthy living and fitness at http://community.wholeliving.com/profiles/blog/list?user=3q9603u0ypadw. She has been published in Country Woman, Family Fun, and Contempo magazines. Traci’s philosophy is “there is an outdoor activity for everyone, and everyone should be outdoors.”