It’s 6:23am, the obstinate deep honking of our anchor drag alarm has awoken us abruptly. John slides over me, bleary eyed, and trips up the stairs to check out the situation. And though the wind has been howling all night, we are not dragging. The anchor is holding well, buried deep in the sand no doubt. Just a 6am false alarm to remind us we are not in Kansas. Or anywhere in a secure land home for that matter. We are on a boat. And I’m up now…
Up in the galley/salon, my feeble efforts at Christmas decorations have been thwarted in the night. The beaded white anchor ornament that serves as our ‘tree’ which I hung with care on our mast has fallen, along with the little Christmassy animals… adhesives are no match for salty sea air. Ah well. I open the hatch for some breeze and the silver and white ‘Christmas flowers’ I had stuffed strategically into my bowl of seashells are blown out and around the floor. This is a boat. And it just doesn’t feel like December anyway.
The water all around us turquoise blue.
However, it’s colder than I remember. We’ve never been in the Bahamas in November or December before. We have been welcomed back by disturbed skies and intermittent squalls. And chilly waters.
Three weeks ago we arrived back on the boat after a three month road trip. She was tucked into a safe hurricane hole but she was all closed up and the heat and humidity took their toll. As I cursed and scrubbed stubborn black mold from the ceilings, I was worried. Would the weather hold up for my boy’s visit? Would the water be warm enough? Would it all be perfect for him and his girlfriend?
And as usual I had to learn a life lesson the only way possible. By discovering for myself that it’s not the water temperature or consistency of the sand on the beach that makes a great family reunion/holiday. It’s the people. It’s the overwhelming, heart crushing love a mama feels for her baby. Her ‘all-growed-up’ focused, talented, gorgeous, charming, mature, well adjusted boy. The boy she sees no more than once a year if she’s lucky.
And it’s the bittersweet satisfaction of witnessing that he has made it out there on his own and has found love. True, honest, beautiful young love.
We had some amazing days together. Barbecues on the beach with the other boats in the bay. Walks on the beach, collecting shells, marveling at the power of the ocean. They swam with sharks, fed the sting rays, got more than their fair share of mosquito and no-see-um bites. Bahamas wildlife couldn’t get enough of them. Neither could I. And yet 10 days was over nearly before it began. Another dinghy ride with luggage in tow. The reality of the cruising lifestyle. Family is far away and the visits are too short.
Seems like five minutes ago I was a 27 year old idealist, headed from suburbia to West Africa; a single mom with her three year old boy headed into the unknown. Hoping the world would stretch out and embrace them both. Off to learn and live and love him as best she could.
Time is a gift. Time is a gift and it’s slipping away.
Swim in the chilly water. Hug your boy. Call your mom. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s just stuff. Let the ocean carry you. Let life be the adventure it’s meant to be.
Miss people. Then smile for having known them. Kiss the sky.