March 26, 2015

Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way

“Are we all going to get in there?” Alex’s friend Leo asked. The kids, their friends (Mira and Leo) and I had just arrived from the airport in the dark, yet again at another dinghy dock which was falling apart located directly in-between the two hovering Pitons.  The dock was really high and we all looked down to Graham who was welcoming us in the dinghy with his red light head lamp on. He was trying to hold the dinghy off from the dock so it didn't slip under. We passed all four bags down; Amelia climbed down, then Mira, then Alex and then this is when Leo must have thought….. "Omg we are all getting in this tiny boat in the dark." Everyone passed this first test with flying colors, all luggage and people safely in the dinghy and safely transported to Salty Ginger!

Once on-board, the full tour happened. Mira and Leo are pretty much complete opposites. Mira was filled with questions and seemed to want to soak up every drop of the experience. Leo seemed content to just go with the flow and let the experiences happen. It was so great to have both perspectives on board.

The kids made the most of the week, spending their time on the beach, hiking, waterfalls, snorkeling, sailing, swimming, kayaking, late night boat parties and hanging out with new friends. My favorite time with them all was the day we took them on a challenging hike to the Sulphur Springs Volcano Park. The hike was only about 10k but was either straight up or straight down. We were able to challenge ourselves and see some truly amazingly beautiful things. Throughout the hike, walking partners changed and we had the opportunity to visit with each other. At one point I was telling Mira how challenging I found it to go up hill and she said to me, “Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way.” This small sentence hit me. It keeps turning up in my thoughts each day. I am really trying to weave this into those activities that I think I am not “good at”.

Another thing I enjoyed was Leo’s story telling. He can paint a picture like no other and his wit and sense of humor were really enjoyable. It was nice for us all to linger after meals and share tidbits of our lives.

For their last two days we took Salty Ginger to dock, so that the kids could have a bit of freedom and enjoy the pool and hot showers. Well the kids did make the most of it. On their last full day the kids had left the boat at noon to go for a swim at the pool and hang out. At about 5pm, Graham and I were surprised no one had returned yet, so we decided to wander down and see what they were up to. We were amused in finding them all at the local cruiser pub involved in a huge team games event. There were the four of them in the middle of the party with their team name “Salty-ettes” on the game board and they were dancing up a storm. We were a bit shocked but also really happy to see them having so much fun. Everyone seemed to love them and they had made a ton of new friends.

At about 6pm, they all came back to the boat and Graham and I were in the cockpit having our sundowners. The four of them sat down across from us on one side of the cockpit. I realized pretty quickly they were there to ask us something. The new friends they had made were heading to the beach in an hour to hang out for the evening and the kids wanted to join them. They had it all worked out. One of the parents had agreed to drive them there and return them by 12:30 pm. They said they could take the cell phone and the vhf radio and call if they had any problems and that they would stay together. I sat there across from them totally torn. I wanted the party to keep going for them. I could see how happy they were but I wanted to be sure that the situation was safe and that it was a good idea. Parenting is hard and seems to get harder the older they get. It also was more challenging have all four of them giving their perspectives. Eventually after Graham and I had weighed all the factors and perspectives, we decided to let them go with many conditions and caveats and not after a “heated” discussion ;-).

They were all back home by 12 pm and according to Alex it was one of the best days of his life. That evening as I waited for them, I reflected on our discussion. For me 18 feels like yesterday. I remember feeling such a sense of freedom, belonging and happiness hanging with my friends. I want them to have this. I want to let go enough for them to taste this freedom and prepare them for life. Given that 18 seems like yesterday though I remember that they won't always make the best choices. That sometimes they will put themselves at risk. That sometimes they won't assess a situation correctly. These memories for me both good and bad are the stories I tell now. I want them to have stories but now as their mom I also want or rather need them to be safe. The need to keep them safe is the most powerful feeling I have ever felt. I have a constant inner battle with myself to allow them the right amount of freedom for their age while balancing safety. My need to mother is strong but my 18 year old self is trying to balance this out ;-).

Leo and Mira are now back home and already missed! Spring break 2015 will be one all four of the kids will not soon forget. Thank you to you both for being wonderful boat guests.

We sailed to Martinique yesterday for a pit stop on our way back to explore Dominica. Our friends the “Gromit’s” are about halfway to us from South Africa. The plan is for us all to meet in Guadeloupe. I am thinking this will be around April 10th or so. Check out their position reports map at:  They are amazing and soon will have completed their circumnavigation! So strange to remember us all starting out way back in 2008 together and now soon to be together again. I am so excited to be there with them as they cross their “round the world” finish line.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like everyone is having a wonderful trip. Nice that they got to have their friends come and stay. Nothing like the Carribean for spring break! It's hard to know what's safe and what isn't anymore especially in a new place and people you don't know. They all sounded pretty responsible glad it worked out to be such a terrific night. As far as getting into a dingy at night in the dark...omg terrifying! That alone would have scared the heck out of me lol
    Safe travels what a reunion it will be once you hook up with the gromits.