The other night some friends took me and the kids out on their boat. It's just a little Boston Whaler, more of a fishing boat, really, but the kids were super psyched. It was a first for them. Things started out a little rough - and I don't mean the waves. Pixie got out there okay, but when we were sitting on the boat ready to head out, she Freaked. Capital "F' freaked. But we rolled with it - my friends didn't hesitate, which I appreciated. I think if for one second we had stopped to try to calm her down we would never have left the beach. Although she gripped my pants hard enough to leave a permanent wrinkle, once we got moving, she had a great time. Such is often the case with my little Miss. (Wonderboy, however, steered the boat "going 40mph!!" so no worries there!)
What our little roundabout in the Bay really reminded me of was how much I love and miss getting out on the water. My parents bought our sailboat when I was really little - maybe even the year I was born, I'm not sure. When I was cognizant enough to know what was going on, I hated it. My Mom and Dad had to promise a trip to McDonald's in order to get me to go. I was scared of the boat tipping over - no matter how many times my Dad told me it would never do that. So as we rowed back to shore from the mooring I would be giving my Mickey D's order to my exhausted parents. I was good like that.
As I got older, I did learn to appreciate the sailboat. (And stopped insisting on McDonald's on the way home.) I loved our time on it, in fact. I never really learned how to be a sailor though. I could hoist the sail and work the tiller if needed. But I didn't get all the lines and when to tack and all that jazz-a-ma-jazz. Even without knowing all the intricacies - I loved that boat.
So much so, that when it came to a point when my Dad couldn't sail it on his own (we were all older at this point and living our own lives that didn't involve weekends on the old Erikson 27'), he decided to sell it and I was so hurt. The boat was such an important part of our lives when my Mom was alive, you see, that it felt like a part of me was being ripped away. I said I would take it, fix it, whatever it needed....But my Dad was right. The boat, at that time, was old and the work needed would cost a fortune. It just wasn't worth it. A bitter pill for me to take.
Being on the water with our friends made me want to give that experience to my kids so much. I don't want my daughter to be scared of boats. I wish I could give them what my parents gave me. Time together that was so precious. 'Cause where were you gonna go in the middle of the Bay? I'll never forget my Dad telling me how he and my Mom would leave the house with a couple bucks in their pocket, some food from home and off we'd go for the weekend, out on the boat. Imagine that?
Financially, I don't know if it will ever be possible for us to own a boat. But I know one thing, any chance I get to expose my kids to being on the water - I'm taking. For them...and for me.
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