We finally got to exhale this season with Naia. I remember when we reached that time with Zach. He was about the same age Naia is now, about 4, and Doug and I looked at each other and said, "Hey, we don't have to have one eyeball on him 24/7 anymore to keep him safe. He has a head on his shoulders, he knows the rules and routines, we can exhale and look the other way now."
It's not that we're helicopter parents, quite the polar opposite. However living on a boat and sailing on a boat with little kids requires super powers of supervision. And of course it doesn't mean we're not supervising now... it just means we can exhale and look the other way every now and again.
And you know what happened in the midst of all of this. I remembered something amazing. I love to sail.
Weird right? Not so much though. You would not believe the number of people (sadly especially women) who cruise and live aboard but hate to sail, don't know how to sail, or are extremely nervous and unsettled by sailing. People get into this lifestyle for many reasons. Many are following the dream of a spouse, some are in it for the travel, some are trying to check something off the bucket list before it's too late, some are trying to prove how different they are, some just like the idea of living outside the mainstream, and so on.
But I started this whole crazy journey and lifestyle way back when because I actually like to sail. And this season I finally found that part of me again.
It started earlier in the summer when a local captain and friend (check out her web site here, she is a fabulous captain and instructor for anyone looking to learn http://www.shesailsu.com/ ) invited me to sail with her and some other women in a regatta this summer. Racing is how I really got into sailing back in my early 20's and it's something I have missed a lot. And as we were out there I realized that although I do love this alternative lifestyle, and the travel, and the community, and the closeness to nature and each other, I also love to just sail. Sailing a small monohull around in circles on a hot day, going nowhere, but just sailing for the fun of it, yes! It was so good, and I was so grateful she gave me the opportunity to rediscover that joy again.
And as we were out sailing this month, going nowhere in particular, it hit me again. The hard parts are coming to a close. I am no longer chief baby holder, toddler chaser, and food prep machine. They can handle themselves now. Not completely, but enough so that I can enjoy the sailing part of sailing, instead of just feeling like I am chasing and soothing kids in a wobbly home.
Big boat, small boat, my boat, someone else's boat, going somewhere special, or going around the buoys... it totally doesn't matter. It just feels good being out there.