I once had a good friend tell me this. She was a single mom who had her daughter at a very early age (eighteen) and raised her on her own through college and law school. By the time she and I came to be friends, she was an established, reputable lawyer and her daughter was about to start high school, and she told me this statement over lunch one day.
Sporting our “super serious” lawyer faces. Love you Dottie!
I was actually talking to her about my impending divorce and all the things that entails─moving to a new house, dating, finding someone new and a re-assessment of my life goals─and I disclosed to her that I didn’t think I wanted to have children.
“Oh, I don’t want children either,” she surprised me by saying, “but I want my child.”
It’s a funny thing. Once you bond with someone and they become ‘family,’ you can’t really undo the connection. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I’ve had several folks ask me since Phillip and I began sharing our re-fit with you all whether we wish we had bought a new boat. More specifically, a good friend recently asked me over dinner: “Do you ever think about selling your boat and just buying a new one?” I was actually taken aback by the question because my immediate, knee-jerk reaction was: “Never, absolutely not.”
Honestly, the thought has never crossed neither mine nor Phillip’s mind. And, in trying to explain why that was my long-ago conversation with a wise single mother and her the seemingly-oxymoron statement about children came to mind. Phillip and I can’t just “sell our boat” and buy a new one. She’s family. I had to laugh because the friend I was having dinner with had actually just been telling me about some troubles she was having with her teenage son and his─as she put it─”I have no clue what I want to do with my life, but I know everything and I hate you” phase. So, I put it to her this way: “Do you ever think about trading your child in and just getting a new one?”
Like Phillip and I, she was taken aback. It was a thought she had never possibly considered because you just can’t. That’s how Phillip and I feel about our Niagara. When you find “your boat” that’s exactly what she becomes: your child. No matter how much she may irritate you, worry you, cost you, you never fathom the possibility of just giving up on her. You can’t. She’s family.
It may sound cheesy, but it’s really the best way I feel I can put it. Although much of what we are doing during these “times on the hard” are just necessary, every-so-often major things you have to do to a boat, it seems these projects seem a little frightening to those of you who are new to boat ownership. Even if I were to couch it in those terms, purely for the sake of argument─i.e., that what we’re dealing with is a costly, project boat─if someone were to ask me why we hadn’t considered selling this “problem child” and buying a new one, my answer would be:
We don’t want a costly project boat, but we want our boat.
Does that make sense? Whether you have an old, 1960’s wooden schooner or a brand new Beneteau, she’s going to need maintenance. She’s going to cost you time and money to keep her healthy and safe and she’s going to irritate you at times, make you want to curse and slap her.
But other times she will bring you joy you could have never fathomed was possible without her. Well-behaved or wild child, she is yours. And for that reason, you want her.
I don’t mean to belittle the question of whether we would prefer to hang up the towel and buy a new boat. It is an honest response and inquiry from someone who has not yet found “their boat.” But I thought─as many more of you likely have children as opposed to “your boat”─this could perhaps help you understand. Phillip and I don’t want to spend our days in the shipyard. We don’t want to spend more money than makes us comfortable on boat projects. We don’t want to find a new potential problem area or another repair that needs to be done next month, next season or next year. But, we want our boat.
On a side note, in real time today is STEP DAY. All goes well, we’ll be putting the mast back up this afternoon. Can’t wait to see our little boat with her stick back in the air! Cross your fingers all goes well. “You better get to stepping!” Captain says.