One of the best benefits of keeping our boat based in the Midwest is the ability for us to share it with family and friends. Last week, we had the pleasure of having my brother; sister-in-law; nieces Alex and Abby; and my mother out for a family sail.
They met us mid-morning at our slip at 31st Street Harbor and we made a quick tour of the splash pad and playground before grilling brats back at the boat. Then, with full bellies and abundant sunshine, we cast lines and pointed north toward Columbia Yacht Club.
To be honest, I was a little worried leading up to the visit that my nieces might be bored while we were at sail. I thought through whether or not we had enough toys on board, how to shorten our course if they got antsy a half-hour in… Aaron and I spend so much time on our boat, and it’s been so many years since I experienced boating as a child. That afternoon, these girls truly opened my eyes.
The whole afternoon, they were up and down, over and over, from the deck to down below – at first, I thought they didn’t enjoy being out in the fresh air, but they were just so excited to be able to go down below – in a boat – while it was moving! How could I have forgotten how awesome that is?! They dragged as many toys as possible to the aft cabin (Claire was napping in the v-berth) and played with stickers for hours. They snuggled up in the covers with an arsenal of snacks, and ran around the salon and giggled as they tried to keep their balance when the boat heeled.
And while they ran around down below, their parents (and grandma) got some coveted uninterrupted time on deck to simply enjoy being out on the water on a gorgeous day. Shortly after we left the slip, Aaron and I raised the sails and tried to find the wind, which was spotty at best and petered out pretty quickly to almost nothing. I shrugged my shoulders and lamented that we were going painstakingly slow, and my brother said, “Meg, we would have no idea! We are just loving being out here!” Sure, us sailors want to make the boat go fast – but sometimes we get so obsessed with trying to eek out that last half-knot that we forget to pause and enjoy the sights, take a deep breath and just float for awhile.
We did a “drive-by” of Navy Pier before tying up the boat at Columbia. Claire taught the girls how to dance around on deck to Jimmy Buffet and we filed into the club for a brief reprieve in some air conditioning. Then, we grazed on leftovers from lunch and as the sun was setting, settled in to watch “Muppet Treasure Island” as it was projected on the side of the club ship.
It was a beautiful day in every sense – lifelong memories, to be sure. And a wonderful reminder of how blessed we are to be able to share this.