Can I Throw You A Rope?
Can I Throw You a Rope?
By Tara Fitzgerald
Each month The Story of Us features different changemakers on The Leader Path sharing their unique voice and perspective to positively impact the narrative we consume each day in the media. Today's author is AMPLIFY Artist of Impact, Tara Fitzgerald who invites us to remember that kids stories aren't just for young people. Through the eyes and ears of a child, we can all remember some of the simplest messages that mean so much. Can I Throw You a Rope is the first of a series from new author Tara Fitzgerald.
Tara Fitzgerald has worked in community and public health since 2005. Tara is boldly curious, and committed to a health-systems approach that strengthens the well-being of the whole population. She believes we can best support, protect and strengthen our communities by increasing and sustaining the resources dedicated to addressing inequities in health. Her vision is strong, healthy communities that support babies, families and seniors to live vibrant lives. Tara works as a Director of Public Health, with Island Health (the health authority on Vancouver Island). Lately, what excites her is developing her voice as a writer, weaving in her personal experiences with her professional learnings. The beat of Tara's drum, and the story she wants to tell, is about raising two strong little girls (who happen to be twins), in these complex times.
Ella and Ava are three, sisters, best friends and twins too!
They are as close as can be and also different in all the best ways:
one with hair of gold, one with dark curls,
one with dark brown eyes and one with bright green eyes.
Ava loves pink and wears dresses; Ella likes yellow and wears pants or shorts. One loves to sleep (Ava) and the other doesn’t want to miss a moment (Ella). When one is quiet, the other is loud; when one is sad, the other is cheery.
And they have fun wherever they go, and sometimes a little mischief too!
Artist Credit: Stella Fitzgerald
They live in a magical place, with tall treed forests, surrounded by the ocean with rivers filled with salmon. The bears must think it’s special too because they often roam these forests too, eating blackberries and fishing for salmon.
The girls love to go for adventures with their parents, exploring the windy ocean, the lush carpets of the woods, and the tall tall tall TAALLLL mountains.
One day, their mom and her friend Rosie, asked them to go on a sea adventure!
Ruby and Rosie were no strangers to exciting adventures (and maybe some mischief) because Moms like to have fun too.
The four of them took a big big biiiiiiiigggggg ferry, and then a small small smalllllllll paddleboat.
They were all on the ocean together and it felt even better than make-believe.
Ella and Ava loved feeling the fresh air in their hair, and hearing the waves splash against the boat. Ella’’s curls got fluffed by the wind, and Ava’’s blond hair looked like threads of spun gold in the sun!
It was a beautiful afternoon.
Artist Credit: Stella Fitzgerald
The sun poked out to say hi from behind the clouds.
Jellyfish waved their tentacles at them, lazy and calm.
Porpoises chased each other, racing through the waves.
Even a deer swam by, going from one small island to another.
Who knew a deer with big antlers could swim like a fish!?
This made Ella and Ava giggle so hard, a man, washing his big old fishing boat, looked up from the dock to wave and laugh too! The big girls noticed his bright jacket shining in the sun.
The girls laughed as the little boat rocked side to side, side to side, in the water.
It was so calm and peaceful, Ava fell asleep.
The two little girls and two big girls were resting with Mother Ocean and everything was perfect.
But then the tide started to get a bit stronger.
And the waves got bigger too.
Then the sun took a break behind the clouds,
and the air chilled.
The little boat began to move further and further away from the shore and out towards the open ocean.
Rosie looked up from the sleepy happy boat and said, “We need to paddle harder!”
Ella cheered, “Go mommy go!”, she said.
So Ruby and Rosie paddled and paddled.
And they paddled and paddled some more.
But the little boat kept drifting away from the shore.
Two little girls and two moms in a small paddle boat in the middle of the ocean were caught in a strong tide.
“We might be in trouble” said Rosie
“What will we do?” asked Ruby
The big girls looked at the little girls and knew they had to be brave.
“We have to keep paddling” they both said.
“It’s going to be okay” Rosie said, her smile not quite reaching her eyes.
They kept paddling. They paddled harder and harder but the boat continued to drift and now the shore was getting further and the waves were getting bigger.
The boat was too small for the big, open ocean.
But what was that?
Suddenly, out of nowhere (because this was a big ocean), they heard the sound of a motorboat behind them.
Was it a dream? A wish come true? The girls turned around to see a small boat with a big motor approaching. And look! It was being driven by the man who had waved and laughed with them earlier!
He waved at them, smiled and then said, “You look stuck. Do you need help?”
Rosie, cheeks flushed with the effort and a little excitement, looked up and said, “Yes, I think we do!”
“My name is Monty. I know this ocean well. It looks like your adventure is about to take a bit of a turn. Can I throw you my rope?”, he said.
Rosie and Ruby looked at each other and nodded with excitement, “Yes please!”
As the rope reached the boat with a loud thud, Ava opened her eyes from her peaceful nap.
“What’s happening? Why are we getting on a big boat? And why did you wake me up?”
The two big girls and the two little girls climbed aboard Monty’s boat. His big boat began to slowly tug their little paddle boat behind them.
“We went out into the ocean, the tide started to take us way, way out! Mommy and Rosie were paddling so hard! Then, Monty came and threw us a rope and now we’re here.”
While Ella and Ava chatted, Monty told Ruby and Rosie that he is a volunteer firefighter, and he is used to rescuing people.
Their magical trip on the little boat turned into a big adventure, and what could have been a whole lot of mischief (and even a bit scary), turned into a fun afternoon because of the help of a kind stranger.
Adventures are fun.
Things can get overwhelming and frightening sometimes. The ocean is a big place and we can feel really alone in it.
Ella and Ava discovered something about magic that day.
It isn’t always make-believe.
It can be kindness too.
It’s important to smile and wave.
It’s important to notice the people around you who might be in need.
And it’s really important to remember kindness, because you never know who might need you to throw them a rope.
Tara Fitzgerald is a health equity advocate on BC’s Vancouver Island. She resides on the traditional territories of the Ligwiłda’xw people; the We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations. Vancouver Island’s Campbell River is where she calls home. She moved here six years ago from Treaty One Territory - Winnipeg Manitoba. Her partner’s grandmother and mother are proud members of the Snuneymuxw Nation of the Coast Salish People and their children self-identify as First Nations. As a family of multi-heritage cultures, they continue to grow into their Indigenous roots in their everyday lives.