Monday, August 23, 2010

hello goodbye

One of the fabulous things about boat kids is how quickly they make new friends. There is no pretense, no segregating by age or gender, no time for hazing. If there's a kid on the dock, near the dock, approaching the dock -- they are a friend within minutes.

That's the way it was with Zach and H&A, two amazingly sweet girls who arrived in our little creek last summer. Instant friends. It didn't matter that they were older or girls or came from a totally different part of the country and different sort of life. Instant karma.
Then fall came. And the reality that all boat kids face loomed. It was time to say goodbye. H&A's parents had finished all of the work their boat needed, they packed up all of their provisions, and they were ready to cast off for the islands.
When we said goodbye that day last year, I stood in our cockpit and took photos. Zach hid under the settee table and sobbed, refusing to come out and wave goodbye. He spent the rest of that day something like this.
It's something our little tribe of boat families talks about often. How do we reconcile the excitement and privilege of this wandering lifestyle with the difficulty of vagabond friendships? I don't have an answer to that.

I guess it's something that gets easier with practice. The girls came back this summer, sailing right back into our creek. The boy was overjoyed but I was dreading in the pit of my stomach what was to come. They were done with thier adventures and were going back home, across the country, selling their boat, ending this chapter. We talked about it, explained, planned, talked some more and when the day came to say goodbye again it went a little smoother. While the girls packed the family car to head back where they came from, Zach spent that morning making little surprises for them.
And he managed to come out from under the table, give the little gifts, have a last play, and even pose for a photo or two.
I know for the goodbyes my husband and I have had in our cruising life, we always take faith in the fact that the world is round and the wind is always blowing somewhere, so our old friends will somehow drift back to us. And new friends are always just over the horizon. I hope Z starts to feel this too.


Joy said...

Awww...that's so sweet and sad at the same time. I'm glad Z was able to spend time with his friends again this summer. I grew up in a military area and constantly gained and lost friends so I know the feelings of which you speak. Interestingly, my very best friends from childhood only lived in the same area as us for 2.5 years but we still see each other to this day. :)

Andrea said...

This is a lovely post. It's so nice when children are able to make friends so easily and naturally :)

Anonymous said...

Aww, Zach is looking so grown up now!

I enjoy reading your stories, please keep us updated :)


anushka said...

i love the way you phrase that bit about the world is round and the wind is always blowing somewhere and that your friends will eventually drift back to you... we have been living a life of saying hellos and goodbyes all to often for my comfort as a mother too. my son has made his first friendships here on this island while my husband is in medical school and the kids he has become close with leave after a semester or two. it is definitely a challenge to come to terms with, and it seems like your son is doing quite well with his goodbyes this year.

moment to Moment said...

This post gave me the chills, I felt it so much. Not that we live on a boat but we have for the last couple of years, really since my first was born, been drifting around a bit, not all of it intentionally, yet there it is. And Kaleena has had to say goodbye many times, with still more to come. I must admit that I have thus far felt very ok with it, and the strongest friendships still remain and we have had the good fortune of seeing people again and again and know that we will continue to do so. For the most part it seems to me that if we are ok with things as they are then our children will be too.
Still I feel you:)

Anonymous said...

i like your blog it is is very colorful.did you miss yourfriends alot

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