While reorganizing our lifejackets the two nights ago, I realized my daughter had hit a milestone. It wasn’t her first tooth, graduating from school or getting married. She had outgrown her PFD.
We had our last paddle almost two weeks ago. While on the water, she told me she was only ninety-three pounds and could still paddle the small kayak my dad had made with a recommended weight limit of one hundred pounds. I commented that with her skill, she’d be fine beyond a hundred pounds if we were on flatwater. It never occurred to me to check her lifejacket, but there it was; “User Weight: 50-90lbs”.
I have to admit I got nostalgic and thought how quickly time had gone by. When I first brought her BOB home, she really liked the colors, but the soft lining in the pocket really put it over the top for her. It’s a feature she liked to show off at paddling events.
Her next lifejacket won’t need to be replaced until it is too worn or lost. Her next kayak may be the one she paddles with her own kids. No, it’s not driving off to college, but it still seems like a big moment.
I take away two things from this experience. One: get your kids on the water as often as possible because your time with them is short. Two: check your PFDs often for tears, signs of wearing, and those pesky weight limits. Contrary to my wishes, kids can’t stay little forever.