Friday, March 6, 2009

Part 2: My Mom's many gifts

So in my last post, I started talking about the amazing freedom I felt being out on the open water in a kayak. This brings me to the "craziness" I also mentioned. My mom actually BOUGHT me a kayak for Christmas this year. I was kind of sad and disappointed at first. I was in the beginning of my medical ordeal and felt weak and unhealthy. I felt like I had had my independence and possibly my life as I knew it stolen away; how dare she buy me something that I would never ever be able to use! But my mom knows me better than I think I know myself. She knew that it would be something that I would start looking forward to as I started feeling better. And she was right. A week or two ago, I was feeling so good, and so excited for the future, I went out into the garage, unwrapped it ( it was wrapped up because it had been shipped) and got in. I just wanted to get the feel for it; see how well the girls and I fit. I called the girls over and lifted Heidi in. This is where we hit a little snag. Heidi would fit in, but just barely. This is a sit-inside kayak, and there just wasn't enough room for my legs and the dogs to fit inside comfortably. Heidi was finally able to sit, but there was no way Shelby was getting in. I felt a huge wave of disappointment. I had taken a trip with the girls down the Saco river in Maine lat yearand it was WONDERFUL. As much as I enjoyed boating when I was a kid, being able to bring the dogs along made the whole experience better. It was a lot more fun. And that trip had increased my want for a kayak of my own ten-fold. Just look at these pictures!
So now that they wouldn't fit...I didn't know what to do. I did sort of have a solution, was going to be hard to pull off. When I had been shopping for Christmas, I went into a sporting goods store to buy my mom some winter gear because she's the one who snow-blows (I dont know why she doesnt trust me with doing it...). That's when I saw it. The boat of my DREAMS. The "Peekaboo" kayak from "Ocean Kayak". It was a sit-on-top, so it was easier to get in and out of (especially on the water). It has a clear window cut-out directly in front of the seat; I didn't so much care about using the window to look through: it was a perfect place for Shelby to sit! She likes being close to me in the boat. I can't have her sit on my lap, because that would make paddling impossible. So there was a seat for Shelby, but what about Heidi? Well, upon further inspection it looked like Heidi was all set too! There is a "jump seat" (which means a smaller, flat seat) on the bow built right into the plastic mold of the boat. Heidi LOVES riding the bow of the boat. This would be perfect for her. This boat was everything that I wanted. I went home and looked online to see how much it ran price wise. Yeah...the retail price was about 850$ That's A LOT of money. And that's just for the boat! You still need a paddle and life-jacket! When I got the kayak from my mom for Christmas, I figured I would use it this year, and save my money to buy the other one next spring. Maybe by that time the price would have gone down.

So, that was my master plan until the other day. I would just have to paddle without the dogs for a while. But an issue still remained. How to actually move and travel with it? For that, I needed a rack for my car. My mom said that she would buy a rack for me for my birthday. So we went up to the Kittery Trading Post ( to go see the racks. The rack was complicated a bit because I needed something to not only hold the boat on my car, but to help me get it up there too. We deiced on the extra piece of equipment, the Yakima ShowBoat. ( When we got to the store and had priced the rack, I asked about a kayak dolly so that I move it easier (put in on wheels, and pull to the water!) The sales associate asked me what type of Kayak I was looking for. I told her the "peekaboo". She said "we have those here in our outside boat yard, you know". I told her that I would go look at them after we were finished there, but asked if she could tell me the price before we went down. She said that usually they ran 850$, but that they were on sale. ON SALE?? For how much?!?! She said:


Are you KIDDING?!? That is two-hundred and fifty dollars off!!! I turned to my mom (who had an expression on her face that was a clear mixture of exasperation and amusement) and told her that I could NOT leave without buying this boat. I would never, EVER find this kayak this cheap. I could put half on one credit card, and the other half on another card. I was rambling this off as an incoherent babble. My mom, always the level head, said we should go and LOOK at it first, before I started whipping out my plastic. So we went outside (and then down stairs) to the outdoor boat yard. There was my baby: it was bright yellow. Yeah...I wasn't prepared for the "yellowness" of it, but at 599$ I would have loved it if it was puke green! It was on the bottom shelf so I was able to pull it out and and then see it up close. The one I had originally seen had been hanging from the ceiling of the store; I wasn't able to really get in it or handle it. I wasn't able to see or feel what 61 lbs. of kayak really felt like.

It felt heavy! Now that I could touch it, I started to pick it up and lift it over my head (as if I was putting it on my car). It was really heavy! I put it back on the ground, and got in it. It was dirty and had leaves and snow in it, but that's because it had sat around for so long. Apparently they (there were two) were on sale because they had been sitting around for months. We were told that when these two sold, they would not be replacing them. So I got in and sat down. It was perfect. Like it had been built just for me and the dogs. It was like they measured my little Shelby, and built the "window seat" just for her. And the bow was plenty big for Heidi. It had sturdy handles built in along the sides, bow and stern. Yes. I had to buy it.

My mom then brought up the subject of how to get it home. Hmmm. We had just gone to LOOK at roof racks, but now we were apparently going to buy one as well. The basic rack that my mom had planned on buying for my birthday had ballooned into the FULL kayak holding/loading rack. The very VERY expensive full kayak holding/loading rack. She said that she would put it all on her credit card and then I would pay her back so she could pay it off. She then insisted that I get a life jacket ("You are NOT buying or getting in that kayak without one!!") and then the paddle AND the dolly. I told her that all of the extras could wait; I wouldn't be able to get out on the water until at least May. There was no rush. But she said we might as well get it all now. I agreed because at least the "damage" would be done and I would know how much I was to pay back.

So we loaded everything up at the register. There was a lot of discounts offered by the KTP that helped a little. They kayak, of course had it's own huge price break. But when you buy a boat here, you get every accessory 10% off. And there were regular sales going on on some of the items as well. So although the bill shocked us both, it could have been worse (everything is relative). I will start paying an extra 100$ a month in addition to what I pay for room and board until it is payed off. Hopefully once my own credit cards are payed off, I can pay more than the measly 100 bucks.

So we left with WAY more than we planned know, especially since we only planned on looking! We had my moms car, so we brought all the pieces of the rack home and will drive them back up in my car on Sunday, when it is scheduled to be installed. The kayak is still there, as we had no way to bring it home on Tuesday. It will come home with us, on my newly installed rack on Sunday too.

I still cannot believe that my mom did not only buy me one kayak, but in fact, two. The other one may be bought by a friend of hers who has also always wanted one, and this will put a small dent in the exorbant amount of money on my moms card. Or my mom may keep it so that maybe we can kayak together. I'm not sure yet what might happen to my first "best gift ever". I just hope that my mom knows how important that it is to me, even if it didn't work out exactly the way that we both wanted it to.

The fact that she bought me something that important is really...amazing. Sure, she bought me something big and expensive. But that's not why it is important or why I think it is the best gift ever. It is the meaning behind it, and the sacrifice she made to get it for me. I felt terrible knowing that I had disappointed her by not being that excited about the first kayak when she first gave it to me. I know how hard she worked to buy it, and how much time and thought she had put into selecting it out of the hundreds of kayaks out there. But I just couldn't see past my own sadness at finally having something that I wanted so badly for so long, and knowing that I might not ever be healthy enough to use it.

But my mom was different. She knew better. Yes, she was disappointed at not being able to see the pure joy and excitement on my face when I had seen it for the first time. She must have been sad that instead of seeing tears of joy she had to see tears of pain. That's obviously not what she intended or expected. But she had hope for the future. She hoped, like only a mom can, that I would get better and I would be able to get out there and enjoy something that I had wanted so badly. I'm sure that she worried that she might be wrong and I might be right and I would not get well enough to safely be out on the water, but nevertheless she had hope. And yes, it turned out that she was the one who was right (as usual). It of course took a lot of time and a lot of healing, but I did get better. And I'm continuing to get better every day.

But I have not only improved because of medical intervention. I got better because of the amazing amount of love from my mom (and dogs) on a daily basis. The patience that she has had with me while I went through all of this has truly made a difference. She let slide when I lashed out in anger because she knew that at the root of that anger was fear and sadness. She never gave up on me, even when my attitude would have driven anyone else from the house. She could always be counted on for words of encouragement (even if I was not always up to listening) and always kept a brave and positive attitude for my sake (although I know what was happening was affecting her as much as it was affecting me.) The fact that she was able to do all of this emotional stuff for me ON TOP of doing everything else is just amazing. She was able to both work and make time to take me to doctors appointments, to parks and stores so that I could walk and build/test my strength, and keep food in the house. She had time to do my taxes (thank GOD...the money from the return has been paying the bills that have already started coming!) AND allowed me to pay my other bills first and then pay her with anything that remained (this was an issue that she NEVER pushed, but I felt like I had to do something for her in return for all that she had done for me...)

She did all that for me when I was sick, and now has done something just as important for me because I am better. The kayak means so much to me already...even though I haven't even been able to use it yet! It has given me something to be really excited about. I know what this kayak is going to mean to me when I am able to use it. Its going to give me freedom; its going to let me let go of all the things that have troubled me for so long. When you're out on the water, you cant help but be in that moment. You stop worrying about work, about doctors appointments, and about the little trivial things in life. You appreciate what is going on in the present. You notice more colors in the sunset and the gentle sound of the paddle and boat slicing through the water. But there is one more thing that I'm going to be aware of while I'm out there: I'm going to ALWAYS remember that it is because of my mom that I get to enjoy all of those things I mentioned. It is because of her and her only. Her kindness, generosity, selfless-ness and belief that things would get better allowed me to enjoy something that my heart has dreamed about for years.

She has always give me so much; she has made huge sacrifices and given me things at her own expense to try and make my life better and easier. Just allowing me to continue to live in her home has been such a huge gift. But with all of her gifts comes responsibility. Although she has given without the expectation of getting anything in return, everything that she has done for me has come with a lesson. Although I live here, I am responsible for room and board, food shopping, cleaning (although she does the bathroom), taking care of the dogs (which isn't a job when you love it!) and doing my own laundry (and some of hers if it is in line). Yes, I can "defer" a little on my payment to her, but I do have to get all of my other bills taken care of and do have to pay her back eventually (again, not that SHE pushes for this, but I try and make sure it's done ASAP). And now I have a kayak. It is up to ME to take care of it, be safe on the water, and get strong enough to load/unload it and use it. It is also up to me to pay back EVERY CENT of the expense. As goD as my witness, I WILL pay it all back. Even if I put off my trip to Florida this year, I WILL pay it all back. I am willing to make sacrifices too. A lesson that of course, was taught by my mom.

I am so thankful to her for everything she has done. And not just through this illness, but through out my whole life. I am strong enough to get through it all because of the strength that she gives me. And I am able to try new things and be who I truly am because of her love, her belief in me, and her support. She's always there to offer them; No matter WHAT crazy idea I come up with!

When I first walked into my "Canine and Feline Behavior" class in college, the first thing the instructor (the woman who changed my direction and focus) said was "I have the BEST dogs in the WHOLE WORLD". Now of course the whole class immediately went into an uproar. We all were convinced that WE had the best dogs on the planet. But the instructor only said it because of the point it raised: everything is relative. We ALL can be absolutely sure that we have the best dog in the world, but no one loves your dog as much as you do. And when it comes to the people in your life, the lesson is the same. I know that everyone out there believes that they have the best mom. But I know that to argue would be pointless. My mom is the best mom to ME. I just wanted to show everyone how special she is and how important she is to me. And of course how much I love her. I do not need a kayak. I dont even need to live in a house. I could be living in a cardboard box with nothing but the clothes on my back, and my dogs as companions, but I would never stop being grateful to, or loving my mom. She's done so much more than just bring me into this world: she's made sure I haven't left yet.


  1. What a great gift she has given you! And I'm not talking about the boat!

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your mom!

    My husband and I have been looking into taking our shelties kayaking for a couple years, but have never "bit the bullet". We usually vacation in Old Orchard Beach or Harpswell, Maine, and have had perfect house rentals for kayaking, but we just couldn't fit the kayak in our truck with all our other stuff (we don't pack light)!

    This summer, we are renting a house, in the finger lakes, that comes with a canoe and a kayak! I am so excited to see if the dogs enjoy being out on the lake in a boat. If they do, maybe then we'll be in the market for one!

  3. Sounds like your mom is a wonderful mom!!!!

    I go kayaking with my mom and dad and we all love it! Glad you got a kayak that will work out for you and the girls!

  4. Wow, what a great post. It brought tears to my eyes reading it. Thanks for sharing. Diana

  5. Thanks for sharing with us :o)

    //Bente - wish know absolutely nothing about kayaking

  6. My mother always told me that the love of my life, and my best friends, should be the kind of people who honored their own mothers. She was so right. Thankfully, it seems they were and are.