It didn’t take long before it was about money. Oh yes – because this is the reality of owning a sailboat in a tropical place and living the rest of the time in a temperate beach shack. Until now, things haven’t been defined by what we want to do as a family. It’s been about living through our investment. We go where we spend the money. And the money isn’t in our beach shack. That’s for sure.
Part of Lulu’s weeping the other night (two nights is weeping so far – I’m starting to count) is about helplessness. Kids don’t get many choices in general. Where they live, how they live. Kids usually have to go along with it. For older kids, everything is changing so much, they want stability first. And friendship next.
I suddenly realised last week just how much Lulu is a good friend. I wasn’t even with her when I realised it – I was at my mother’s talking about her. As soon as I did, my skin started to tingle. I realised how much Lulu has always been involved in her friends. Loyal yes, and discrete, but more than that. Her own identity is built from friendships, much more than myself, Jack or even Delphine. It made me understand that Lu was born to be a good friend. It’s her gift.
So, duh, no wonder she’s always been ambivalent about being on Quest. From the very beginning she used to talk about the friends she was missing back home. She was only ten-years old at the time. To be honest, I sort of hoped she’d forget about. Ha! More fool me. Now that she’s back in the hometown frame, why would she want to go back to the adventure/few friends model? With only your loving family around you? Double ha.
’I don’t think I’m that adventurous really,’ she said in between weeping. ‘I pretty much like staying in one place.’
I’m wasn’t going to leave her to cry through it alone, even though she kept telling me to. ‘Just go!’ she sobbed. No way. I might not be as good a friend as Lu is, but I try and make up for it being a mother. Cue more weeping.
And then there’s the daddy of our house. The one who has to spend three grand next week for boat storage. Who has to decide whether he’s investing ten grand into a new plotter and auto-pilot for Quest. Whether we buy a whole new set of dive gear for Delph to start diving. Delph’s scuba diving – that’s a whole other plan. I’ll get there. Let’s stay family dynamic for now.
When you’re the one spending the money in a family, you’re usually also the one making decisions. For us, it’s becoming startlingly clear the above rule isn’t going to wash anymore in our family. We could of course drag Lulu back to Quest, but it will be painful. Really, really painful.
‘Well, I can’t do it anymore,’ Jack said. ‘It’s enough that it feels like a miracle even to just get to Quest. All these obstacles just to get there. Now I have to take Lulu’s considerations into account too? We’ll never get there now.’
He’s not the only one guilty of parental decision-making. Until this moment, until I suddenly realised that to take away Lulu’s born-to-be-a-good-friend gift without making sure she was ok with it first was like taking away her fresh air. I was all in for not really thinking what she wanted – cause I knew she probably wouldn’t want to go. Ahh, she’ll be fine, I thought. Triple ha.