Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Shark goes sailing

This is a growing up day. It is Shark's first day of sailing.

Weeks ago, I escorted Shark to the boatyard at the local lake and inquired, tentatively, about the sailing courses for children. I was told, and I said I would think. It is a big lake, and she is a little girl. Then, after days of being asked the same question, 'Can I go?' I took Shark back down to the lake. We watched the geese march up and down, patrolling the lines, kicking off a duck who had dared settle, and I said to her excited face, 'Are you sure?'

And then I did it. I wrote her name in careful ink and booked her a place on the Stage 1 course. Four days, every day, here for two hours, then she gets to join the sailing club that goes out once a week come rain or shine. Wind is the only essential.

Shark was ecstatic. Like a spring lamb, from a standing jump I swear she went straight up in the air; she ran and gambolled around the gravelly boat yard as if shooting stars were going off under her feet. Clearly, for once, mother had done the right thing. Not told her to brush her hair, clean her teeth, wear shoes, put on a coat, find knickers, get in the car, bring pencils, eat a meal, but written her name, handed over the cheque and been solemnly told that during the course the staff are responsible and I can go.

Since then I have been called upon to count down in excited chatter how many weeks and days might have to pass before the great first day of sailing arrives. Two weeks three days ... One week two days ... Tomorrow ... Today.

And here we are. The wind is cold, and the lake is grey. The water laps away into the distance and I can see little boats bob bob bob in a far off stretch, but I cannot see the little sailors inside, and I wonder, if I were to stay, whether I would be able to see from the shoreline which one is Shark. Just in case, should I need to shout out Help! or My baby! Overboard!

After five minutes from the lesson start, Shark is shooing me away. I am on her turf. This is her stuff, and she tells me that if I hang around I will get wet. It sounds like a threat, and so I agree to go, but first I make her put sunscreen on her nose, even though there is no sun, and I tuck in her jumper, which she immediately pulls about again.

She is right. Fifteen minutes later, clutching a mast and marching to the waterside, she looks like she was doing this forever, but I never noticed.


Trevor said...

Good old Shark, and good on you for leting her spread her wings. Don't worry she'll be looked after very well (although she is likely to get wet). I hope she enjoys sailing and when she's older she can come and crew for me (when I'm older and can afford another boat...)

You need to teach her to dive next. No pressure.

Kelly Jene said...

Great job Mommy Grit! Oh, it sounds like such an adventure for her. How exciting.

Well written post, just about brought tears to my eyes.

Allie said...

Great. It's lovely when they just know a thing is for them.

Merry said...

Aw. Look at her go :) Well done on letting her; tricky stuff. You can't imagine me the first time Fran did a Brownie camp...

sharon said...

Good for Shark and for you for letting her spread her sails. I hope she had a wonderful time. Hey, if she ends up crewing for Trevor in WA you can come and visit me too! Currently we live VERY close to several wineries, a couple of boutique breweries and a Cider Maker . . . plus there's a lovely Chocolate shop quite close as well :-)

Grit said...

yes, trevor, shark says diving is non negotiable. i say i want to do it with her. really it's an excuse to hold her hand.

hi kelly jene, i'm very proud of her for just knowing what she wants!

i agree, allie, i think we are so lucky that our children have the opportunity to find out!

hi merry! i am not very good at parting with them, although this doesn't stop them doing some pretty amazing things ... i have learned to bite my knuckles.

ok sharon, i'm coming over, it sounds as close to bliss as one could get!