There’s something magical about going cruising the first time. There’s so much loaded into that journey, so many nay-sayers and personal doubts. So many boats sitting on the dock, while owners spend weekend after weekend getting “ready to go” but never actually leaving the dock with the lines kept aboard.
When you head off (and I don’t care if it’s for a week, a month, a year, or “forever”), you’ve joined a special club.
Leaving the second time somehow feels even more momentous. Somehow it means, to me, that we’ve really proved we can do it. Not just once. Bring on the next time.
December, 2008. Our 15th wedding anniversary, a rare occasion when we’ve got a babysitter to hang with the kids. We’ve opted for eating outside, next to a loud propane heater thing on the patio that’s covered with a plastic-looking canvas tent with plastic-looking “windows” designed to look, from the outside, like some floppy house. This is not the most auspicious beginning to dinner – we’d been counting on being indoors next to the tulikivi fireplace on this cold December night, complete with freezing rain and a chilly breeze. But reservations are not normally a part of our vocabulary, so rather than wait for 2 hours, we decide on immediate seating outside.
Drinks ordered, we settle back into conversation. It’s usually about the boat, about sailing, on these nights. Our first wedding anniversary was spent on Bimini, after a really crappy Gulf Stream crossing, and the tradition of talking about “where do you see us in xxx years” and “what was the best part of the last xxx years” started even then.
“Best part, hands down, was going cruising.” That’s been the standard answer since 1997.
“Okay. That’s not happening again any time soon,”
“Nope. Let’s put an air conditioner on the boat. It’ll make it more comfortable for weekends aboard. This Chesapeake weather is rough for sleeping when it’s summer.”
“Wait. Why not go cruising again? We’ve always talked about wanting to take the kids . . .”
“Why not? Umm, kids.”
“We’ll rent it.”
“The boat needs a new engine.”
“Really? Does it?”
“Hmm. Maybe not. And the economy stinks. You’ve already quit your job. I’ll just quit mine.” Jeremy was starting to warm up to this whole idea.
And the conversation continued, getting more and more animated as every objection we could mount became an exercise in figuring out ways around it.
By the end of that dinner, which had begun in an almost mournful way on an outdoor patio with zero ambience that somehow seemed fitting for a discussion about how everything was better once upon a time, we were casting off our lines in the fall.