Yesterday my family and I went to the Dickson Dam Reservoir for Keilan’s second birthday party. We’d purchased an old boat from my brother last year, but it needed a little engine work. We finally had it fixed and were excited to try it out. The only thing that sat heavy like a lump in my stomach was the thought of the dreaded boat launch and backing up the trailer with a whole bunch of people waiting on me and watching.

I have very little experience backing up with a trailer and I knew I should have practised more. We got to the lake and I was happy to see that there was almost no one there. I thought to myself, “This might not be so bad.” With no one waiting on me, I can take my time. We got the boat prepped to launch, and by that time there were a couple vehicles in line to launch their boats. We got in line and by the time it was my turn, there must have been ten vehicles behind me. The lump in my stomach became a lead brick.

I started to panic a little bit inside. I tried to back up the trailer too quickly and it did not go well. After my third attempt, someone in line behind me came up and asked if I needed some help. I said, “That would be great,” and he patiently came alongside me and walked me through backing the trailer down the launch.

I decided right then that I was not going to pull that boat out of the water until after every last trailer was gone from the parking lot. That way I’d have lots of time and no pressure.

We had a great day at the beach with a couple other families. My plan of waiting until everyone else left was coming along nicely until the thunderstorm started to build in the West. The thought of five kids on the beach or sitting in their seats in the van during a thunderstorm while I waited on all the other boats to leave wasn’t a good one. I waited as long as I could, but the wind and the waves came up quickly and we finally had to get the car in line to pull the boat out of the water.

Backing the empty trailer down was even worse. I tried to go slower this time, but I couldn’t see the trailer out the back window. Again, I knew I should have practised in an empty parking lot before we went out. After a number of failed attempts, another person from the line behind us came and helped me get the trailer down the ramp.

I’ve learned my lesson. Never again until I practice, practice, practice!

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