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.
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 ;-).
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: http://www2.winlink.org:8081/maps/PositionReports.aspx?callsign=VE3MZL&title=Position%20Reports%20for%20VE3MZL. 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.