Today I thought we might talk about the sacrifices you make for your kids.
As such, I’d like to introduce you to the first of what I’m sure will be many in my life:
Last week, after hearing for the umpteenth time about all the costs involved in babying, I came to the realization that I hadn’t quite made room in our monthly budget for diapers, dentists and daycare. (And, to be entirely honest, we were already running pretty close to break even.) So I began to look for places where we could scale back some luxury spending. And the first one came like a clarion call…
Ever since I was old enough to understand that I could have things of my own, I’ve wanted a boat. A small spot on the water that’s mine. Nothing ostentatious. Nothing gaudy. Certainly nothing you could ski behind. Just a simple boat with sails and a place for me to sleep.
I stood on the docks in Wickford, RI and came up with adventures involving the dinghies that were made fast to the pier. I worked on other people’s catamarans and schooners all over the east coast, dreaming of the day I’d be the captain of my own. I towed 12-footers behind my Mitsubishi Eclipse up to Bear Lake, Utah to teach university sailing classes in the summers. And I’ve sat at restaurant tables in Kemah with my wife, jealously watching Js and Beneteaus drift by, on their way out for an afternoon sail.
Last April, after 35 years, this dream finally came true. I sold off a number of Magic: the Gathering cards to Star City Games, bought a 1978 30′ Hunter, and sailed her to my very own slip in Seabrook. We took her out only a few times (summers in Texas aren’t conducive to these things), but the knowledge that I had a boat of my own, there for me anytime I wanted to take her out, made me happy.
But that was before there was a Daphne to think about. And last week I added the annual cost of slip fees + insurance + maintenance + registration + gas for the trips down and back. The total wasn’t a small one, and it became clear that I couldn’t afford to keep my boat.
I’d finally gotten the thing I’ve always wanted, and I was going to have to watch her sail away without me.
This was a very bad day.
But, as in all things, there’s silver lining to be found here.
I did fulfill a lifelong dream and get that one thing that I’ve always wanted. I hope that all of you can know what that feels like, even if it’s just for a little while. And there’s nothing stopping me from getting another boat someday. Someday…
And, of course, I’ve a daughter on the way. One who will be (hopefully) healthy and strong and brilliant and generally a wonderful little human being to be around. And maybe I won’t dwell on the things that I gave up for her, because they’ll pale in comparison to how amazing she is. I hope that’s what will happen.
But I know that, on some clear spring days, the eidolons of my past will whisper to me on the wind. And, for just a moment, it will break my heart.