Monday, September 10, 2012
I spent last weekend watching my oldest daughter work. Over nine years ago she got bit by the sailing bug. One week of summer camp led to two more. After summer she joined the racing team. My four younger children and I spent countless weekends sitting on the shore watching her sail through binoculars and eventually discovering every children's museum, zoo, activity and distraction in south Florida. Those four younger siblings are all also sailing and racing now, with the little guy and I watching from shore. And the oldest is now a coach, shaping the latest batch of new sailors.
Last weekend she coached her first regatta and she invited me to join her. It was so rewarding to watch her guide those nervous youngsters through their weekend, and just as exciting to watch those kids embrace sailing and fall in love with it.
The whole sailing thing never ceases to amaze me. In two weeks of summer camp these kids, as young as 8 years old, learn how to sail a boat and reach a destination all by themselves. Most of the kids who raced in this regatta had about five weeks of experience under their belts. Five weeks and they're on a race course. Five weeks and they can follow a course in all sorts of wind. Oh, and they're alone in that boat.
As a parent, one of my favorite aspects of sailing is the independence it teaches. The kids are responsible for their success or lack of it. Rig your boat right, learn from your coaches, take care of your equipment, use what you know, focus, focus, focus. It's on them. Not Mom and Dad, not the coach, not the team. And when it all comes together and the child improves and grows they get to own that ... every bit of it, and it looks so good on them.
After nine years and five sailors (so far) I could go on about this sailing stuff for hours. I have on this blog before and I'm sure I will again, so I'll save some of my sailing love for another post.
It is possible, perhaps, that that sailing bug bit all of us.
This little quilt is available in the shop.
Pictures taken at Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Sarasota, Florida.