Sun number one, with the glued-up head, took step 2 in his life as a sailor last weekend. Step 1 was taken last summer, when he had a couple of sailing lessons in an opti (a little boat that a child can quite easily sail by themselves). He appeared to be loving it, and quite a natural at ticking and tacking (you'll notice holes in my sailing lingo. Just warning you). So the Zimbo and I were very pleased when we were asked if Noah would like to crew for a nearby 12 yo friend in his Manly Junior this season.
Now we know our sun (and yes I do know that I'm spelling that incorrectly... is it annoying?) so we chose not to tell him, until the final second, that he would be sailing on this occasion. There was uncharacteristic clinging. There were gradual steps moving backwards, away from the boat. There was spluttering, and tears, and much grumpiness and anxiety. But we forced him into it and were then consoled by friends that we really were doing Noah a favour. My favourite convincing moment was likening sailing lessons to Sunday school. "We could be sending you to Sunday school, but we're not. We're forcing you to go to sunday sailing school." [with friends, in the most beautiful location, followed by treats and family time and a little kayak around our island!!!] Our Japanese friends send their children to Japanese school on Saturday mornings. We will be sending our island children to sailing school.
And so, the Zimbo and I are resolute. The child will learn to sail, just as he had to learn to swim. When he had sometimes cried and performed at swimming lessons many years ago, we didn't let him off the hook. We were clear that swimming lessons were mandatory, not voluntary. Now, living where we do, we really believe that if we allowed him to proceed to adulthood without sailing as a lifeskill, we would be negligent parents.
So, hopefully, if you don't live near water, you will believe me that life is not all plain sailing, so to speak, just because one lives on a lovely island, surrounded by beautiful national park and shimmering waters. Children are still children, with whatever lessons they bring with them.
We're quietly confident that Noah will be loving sailing - and all that goes with it! ... hanging out with older boys, the sun on his face and wind in his sails, access to the sailing club canteen, going away with friends etc etc. - by the end of this, his first, season. Surely he'll thank us for it, in twenty years time (along with my singing on Mama road trips).