|Boats in the marina...waiting.|
We had a bit of a stroke of luck last year. Mark's work load was fairly light so he was able to really put a bunch of time into getting our boat ready. This year his work load has increased to a level that is beyond full, requiring him to travel quite a bit, to work on brain taxing technical problems and to try to squeeze in a bit of boat work as well. The work relationship is a necessary one. They need the work done and since we have not won the lottery we need the funds to stockpile to pay our living expenses while we go gallivanting. It works out to a good if decideldy codependent relationship. I know that his short temper these days has more to do with trying to fit everything in with very little rest than anything we are or are not doing. I also know that this too shall pass. But its hard. Hard to know the answer is to get out sailing where Mark visibly relaxes and a calmness overtakes him and to know that the answer is still 12 months away.
Then there are the little things that are hard. Little things like my car. My car is okay but really way too small for my day to day life with a toddler in tow and a preteen as well. We really could use something that offered us the flexibility of hauling kids and/or boat refit supplies and equipment. We looked long and hard at the used car market and no matter how we crunched the numbers, to get something in decent shape would require us to take a $2500-$3000 hit over the course of 12 months. How many months of cruising would that $3,000 buy us? Almost 2 on our projected budget. Do we want to give up that time in exchange for a bit more comfort and convenience for only 12 months? No, keep your eye on the prize but as I load up the car for another day it does annoy me.
A really hard thing was giving up a long time dream of my own. I had a great career in folk music and felt like I had reached all of my goals save one- I always wanted to do children's music. Some might not get it because its not cool or hip, but I have always wanted to perform for children. When I heard that my absolute favorite of all time children's music group The Singing Kettle was searching for a new cast member, I sent in my resume, some past recordings and a short video. I thought it was a pipe dream and did not expect anything. Then they came back announcing I had made the short list and would I send in a another video? I sent it in and then Mark and I sat down and crunched numbers and logistics of moving the family and boat to Scotland, changing our sailing plans and all the changes and sacrifices that chasing this weird little dream of mine would entail.
As we waited to hear back, I came to the conclusion that the sacrifices we have made for the past 3 years would have been wasted if I were to take the position. I quite tearfully made the determination that choosing to chase the dream of cruising meant foregoing other dreams and goals. I knew I had to withdraw my name should I be invited to Scotland. It was a bit of good fortune actually, that in the end choosing a Texan for a Scottish children's group did not fit in with the Singing Kettle's needs and I did not have to write that painful letter withdrawing my name. Knowing that I had to forgo other dreams was very hard. Its not one I will be able to revisit so it really is choosing one longed for experience over another. Hard indeed.
The kids are finding waiting hard as well. Not so much Kitty, whose only real sacrifice is a backyard climbing frame/slide of her own (and man oh man would she love it) but Maura has had to give up opportunities and things in order for us to do this. We live in the epicenter of suburban/American consumerism and in order to make cruising work, we have to make different choices than our neighbors and while on the surface it might seem superficial and inconsequential, if you are 12 years old and are the only kid around not following the prescribed formula it is hard. No iPhone, they are too expensive and you won't be able to use it in a year. No competitive dance or sports because you will be leaving in a year and those require a 3 year commitment. Amassing a junior high school worthy wardrobe? You'll just have to get rid of most of it in a year and when will you wear those trendy jeans with all the gelcoat scarring studs on the boat? Other coveted gadgets and items are just more things to soak up the finances and must be gotten rid of in the name of available storage space. Maura desperately wants a sailing dinghy of her own but we don't have time to get good use out of it before we leave and where would we store it on the boat? Birthdays and Christmas are small, both for financial reasons and storage space considerations. Certainly not life or death choices but if you are 12 and giving up all of the things your friends enjoy for an unknown experience, it is hard.
So, I continue to wait. Waiting for the payoff for which we have all sacrificed. I do not begrudge those who are able to just buy a boat, step aboard and take off. I am happy that life happened in such a way to allow them to skip the waiting because some times, waiting really sucks. And blows. Simultaneously .Our life has not happened in such a way for that to be the case. We've had to sacrifice, work and wait. While the waiting can get me down, I know that no one will be more excited to finally cast off the dock lines than we. I know that all this annoying and at times maddening craziness will result in an adventure many others will never get the chance to experience and for that, I am extremely grateful. So we shall keep on keeping on and until we finally cast off our ties to land I will try to remember "Waiting is...until fullness."