Finally I am again on the bow of the boat reflecting on our grand adventure thus far while listening to waves crashing nearby on the beach of Saint Martin in the dark. It’s been sort of sad and strange to adapt to the wonder and beauty of this dream so fully that it seems almost ordinary now. We wake after 7:00, Dan usually first to motor the dog to shore for a walk on the beach. Meanwhile the kids and I wake, me groggy and usually uncomfortably hot, and the boys ready for a hearty egg and bacon breakfast. The girls are rarely awake in time to intercept the boy’s egg plans with their famous chocolate chip pancakes. All I want or need is a good ICED Peet’s soy latte with an extra shot of decaf.
We’re finally grooving with daily breakfast chores begun by 9:00 and impatient parents off limits to the galley so the kids (crew) can crank the chore music and move at their own tediously Caribbean-ya-mon-slow pace. Today for example Dan and I found ourselves exploring coffee and baguettes on both the French and Dutch sides of Saint Martin. A few hours later when we return to the boat, the galley is spic and span and at least most everyone has completed their 3 hours of schoolwork. Yes siree. Trapped in the boat rocking in the harbor, my once study resistant children are productively generating 400 word stories, completing and hour of math and reading fervently and with real interest.
My favorite part of our routine is Mikai swabs the decks every morning because he wants to, and has taken serious pride of the usability and cleanliness of our equipment. Annika is really a natural at organizing our minimal spaces, Karina has become much braver, often swimming 150 yards from the beach to the boat. Nikolas has become a much appreciated grilled cheese chef and he’s always the first to jump in unknown waters regardless of the depth for a snorkle.
My least favorite part of our new lifestyle has been how tired we are by 8:00. We are in the sun and wind and newness so much that we are usually completely spent shortly after the sun sets and just at an ideal hour for blog writing. This is especially true 5 days a week after hiking or swimming or sailing all afternoon.
My favorite and least favorite part at the same time is how intimately close we are living together. It’s been great because it forces us to practice presence, regard for each other, patience, listening, and being intentional about preserving our own space. On the other hand it really makes clear our humanity and where we aren’t willing to accept that reality. The “should” program we generally live by at home, as we escape each other into work and school, doesn’t work here. We are learning to work together, accept each other’s weaknesses, lean on each other’s strengths, and to laugh or at least breathe when plans don’t go as they “should”.
One of my favorite quotes and lessons until now was from a dock manager during a very stressful moment as he prevented a million dollar yacht from running into a multi million dollar one and declared with more sweat on his forehead than I’ve ever seen, “It’s all part of it mon.” It wasn’t my concern, but as an on-looker it was an intense moment and I was impressed by his calm. I can’t help but think of life in general and all the potential breakdowns and run-ins. It would be so much better if I could gently comment “It’s all part of it mon” whenever things don’t work out as they “should”. I’m going to try that next time the anchor slips or no one likes what Ive cooked for dinner, or when I wake up sticky hot with 4 hungry kids because they didn’t eat enough the night before. But I’d still like that Peet’s soy lattte, 120 degrees, um, and an extra shot of decaf. Chocolate drizzle.......please.............
Tomorrow we sail/motor 12 hours to BVI from Saint Martin in 1 knot of wind. That’s “all part of it” too, I know, I know.........