We’re Going Sailing

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We’re going sailing! We did it. YOU DID IT! The Pirate Mama Kickstarter campaign has crossed the finish line and will be setting sail on January 2nd.

From this vantage point, it’s tempting to pretend I believed all along the campaign would go off without a hitch. I did not. I paced and doubted and second-guessed my decision to leave my stable and secure office job on a daily basis. And on bad days, this occurred hourly.

The things I told myself I wouldn’t say to anyone else. I wondered if I was failing my son by prioritizing this adventure over a bigger house or a more rigorous routine. I berated myself for not being happy with what I already had.  I worried my friends and the rest of the world reading about my idea would consider me foolish or selfish or perhaps both.

Every time I got close to the brink of quitting the Kickstarter campaign, when the desire to retreat to a more comfortable space welled up in side of me, I thought about the last time I was sailing.

In September, I took my certification class at Charleston Sailing School. A light drizzle kept the skies dulled by grey all day, the fog heavy on the horizon that windless day. We tacked our way up the harbor and Sterling, the captain, pointed out a shrimp boat cleaning its nets before heading back to dock.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 10.50.25 AM

“Want shrimp for dinner?” he asked with a gleam in his eye.

“Yum! I’d love that,” I said, before I understood his trick. Now I’d have to negotiate shallow water and a narrow channel to dock the boat at a pier. I was the only student that week, which meant I had Sterling’s undivided attention. He noticed every time I got careless and steered too close to a hazard or misjudged the current’s strength. He commented every time I let the sail luff or failed to keep an eye on the chart.Screen-shot-2015-11-09-at-12.41.32-PMThere was so much to remember. The shapes and colors and numbers of buoys and what they all meant. The point of sail and the direction of the wind. Then there was reading the water itself, studying the surface for telltale texture and color differences and scanning the horizon for other boats.

A voice looped inside my brain. This is too much, you’ll never get all this down in time to take Tobin sailing this winter. You’re in over your head.

Sterling must have noticed. “Sailing requires an on-going conversation with the wind and current. Just be willing to listen.”

That was a game changer. I didn’t have to memorize every scenario and know the correct answer. I needed to observe and use that awareness to constantly adjust my responses.

We sailed throughout the overcast afternoon, making short tacks toward the creek where we would anchor that night. I steered as close into the wind as I could, sheeting in the sails and waiting to tack until the last possible minute when the muddy banks were less than a few boat lengths away. I kept an eye on the chart, finding landmarks to measure our progress to navigate toward our anchorage and glanced at the depth finder every few minutes to avoid grounding our boat.

That evening we set anchor. I gazed out at the marsh and light filtered through the grey. I blinked, thinking I was imagining the pale rainbow that spanned the marsh. The colors intensified with each passing second. I spent the next thirty minutes watching the rainbow form and then a second halo of a rainbow echoing its brilliance.Screen shot 2015-11-09 at 12.42.50 PMWe ate shrimp and drank wine basking in the glow of the setting sun. We cleaned up and were about to head to bed when Sterling called out. “There’s bioluminescent in water, I’ve never seen it here before.”

I jumped off the stern and the water exploded with hundred of glowing specks. I swam, leaving a wake of fluorescence. I splashed and laughed. I was living a life full of discoveries and wonder. I would have never guessed the magic of buying fresh-caught shrimp or seeing rainbows after a day of plodding through the grey or swimming in bioluminescent.

That memory reminded me about possibility. Thinking back on it, I realized that no matter how scary venturing into the unknown toward unrealized dreams can be, there is nothing so hazardous as remaining stagnant, in the shadows of security and stability.

Thank you for helping to make the dream of sailing with my son actually happen. I can’t wait to share the journey with you this January.


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