I can still see her out of my reach and there was nothing I could do about it...
What I was seeing was my little girl, thankfully wearing a life jacket, trying to hold on to a flipped over canoe while heading through a current moving pretty fast.
This was our first ever canoe trip as we joined up with out-of-state friends, all eight of us. We called and were told that the canoe is something our 7-year-old could do and that the current wouldn’t be too much for her.
So here we are. I put my girl in the front and I’m in the back. It starts to rain for a brief moment.
As I reach down to get her an oar to work with the best she can, I also realize that we started moving quickly as there is a pretty rough part at the very beginning of this course for us rookies.
My canoe first started going sideways. I straightened it back up before I saw that we were about to hit an embankment that came out farther than I realized.
My little girl, seeing that the canoe is about to flip, tried to come towards me. As I reach to her, the canoe flips completely over.
I had tennis shoes on to help when walking on the rocks. But the water was moving so quickly.
I would get up, but the water filled in my tennis shoes and made me feel like I was walking in concrete blocks as I tried to lift my feet out of the water walking as fast as I could.
I’d take two steps then go down slipping on the rocks while the water is moving much faster than I realized it was moving earlier. My daughter at this time was about a canoe’s length away from me and there was no way I could get to her.
Knowing there were other folks in canoes and on inner tubes close to us, I raised my voice saying frantically, “I can’t get to her...I can’t get to her.”
Then two guys about break their necks falling off their inner tubes to catch my canoe and to get my little girl.
In the meantime, my wife and her friend had also tried to stop and flipped over when doing so. They would be fine.
My daughter and I eventually did get on shore and I just held on to my little girl. She was scared and Lord knows so was I. We both thanked God together that nothing worse happened in this situation. I doubled down thanking the two men that did whatever they could to get off their inflatable rafts to grab a hold of my little girl. I know they were just two guys enjoying a float trip together. For me, they were two angels God blessed me with for the day. While the rest of the family finished up the float trip lasting a couple of hours, my daughter and I had what she called “daddy, daughter time.”
We just hung out while our party finished up the float trip. We enjoyed gummy worms, got a drink, drove to a gas station to fuel up and timed it out to catch the party at the end of the float trip.
As a father, I felt so hopeless. I could see my daughter going down the river, but I couldn’t get to her. I didn’t like that feeling, knowing that I couldn’t get to her.
Thankfully for us, our story had a happy ending. It really puts things into perspective. We never know what challenges may come our way in life when we least expect them. We never know what will happen one second from now. I encourage you to love and enjoy your children and family while you have them. Be sure to thank God for every second He blesses you with them.
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