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OK, it’s time for me to rant a bit, or more than a bit! A pretty serious pet peeve of mine is the statement that some people make which basically says that they can’t go cruising because they don’t want to be removed from their family, specifically adult children and grandkids. Why does this bug me? Because it implies that those of us who are out cruising care less about our families than those who are willing to “sacrifice” their cruising dreams.

Let’s be realistic… this is not the 1800s where extended families all live together on the same parcel of land. On my side of the family, I have relatives in three different Canadian cities, some of whom are 2000 miles apart. Rebecca’s family is no different, and our daughter, and our new granddaughter, now live in California! How, if we still lived in Kingston, Ontario, would the situation be much different? Many of our family members would still be a plane trip away. Airplanes fly from the islands just as easily as they do from Toronto, so are we not in the same “boat?”


Our beautiful Granddaughter, Demi. No, we have not yet been to California to hold her in our arms, but we will soon. Our wonderful daughter Cass keeps us updated on their progress almost daily.

If you live in the same city as your kids/grandkids and see them on a daily or weekly basis, fine. If your situation is anything like ours is/was though, I call BS on that “family” excuse. There are telephones, Facebook and (video) Skype to keep in touch, and of course, there are airplanes for a real face-to-face visit. There is no can’t go cruising, there are simply choices.

Would people really want me around their children on a regular basis? I think not. 🙂

41 Comments

  1. Not what I thought you would talk about but TOTALLY AGREE! I made one promise to my wife, and that is there would always be money set aside for her to fly wherever to see her kids. I also implemented my electronic plan now by equipping her computer with skype and a webcam so she can stay in touch now.

    And heck you can always sail to where they are and have an instant apartment too! One of ours lives in Houston. I always wanted to sail to Galveston…

  2. word. and by the way, Demi is the most beautiful baby ever!!!

  3. Excellent post and thank-you for saying what has been inside my head for so long. I am so sick of the looks/comments I get when I tell people I want to take off and go cruising once my youngest is out of high school (one more year, yippee! Had I not come into sailing late in life I wouldve taken my young kids away cruising with me, but I didn’t want to pull them out of high school because we all know unhappy teens are miserable to be around). Its as if I said I was abandoning a 5 year old. Some people ask where she is going to go during summers (her Mom’s house or she is welcome to fly to wherever I am and stay on the boat), they ask how I could leave my grandkids from my oldest daughter (yep, 2 of them, and they have a mom to raise them already), and they indicate that somehow staying would be the proper thing to do. I always ask those people if they believe their kids will grow up and have lives and families of their own someday and might not need us so much any more, or if they believe that their children are incapable of leading independent lives.

    It is my long-standing belief that people who feel they can’t leave their adult children are not so much thinking about their kids as they are thinking about how they will feel not needed anymore, like they don’t have a purpose any more as parents. Look at all the people who continue to coddle their adult children and do everything for them well into their 20s and even 30s. They are not letting their kids be adults and not doing them any favors. I say go cruising if that is what you want. If you have done a good job raising your kids to be independent adults they will be fine. If you did a piss-poor job as a parent and spoiled your kids and hovered over them so much that they can’t make decision and can’t be without you, then you reap what you sowed.

  4. Are you kidding me? You being away and doing what your doing gives the family you “left” behind (haha) more to talk and brag about in their daily lives, that more than likely you enhance their lives way more than if you lived a normal (did I say that?) life back home.

  5. You are right, it’s all about choices.

    We are lucky that our kids and grandkids are all relatively close to where we live. That being said, my dad is 1700 miles away in FL and my wife’s parents and sister moved to TX.

    Last winter we used dad’s place as a base of operation as we sailed the FL Gulf Coast.

    My lovely wife informs me that 3 months is as long as she wants to be away from the grandkids while they are little. Fair enough. That’s doable.

    e-mail, phone callse, and skype help a lot.

    Of course, we meet people in our travels so now we have friends all over the place.

    We plan a 3 month trip after Christmas. Fall 2013 the plan is 3 months sailing, scoot back to NH for Christmas, then back to the boat and warm water for another 3 months.

    Some people just look for excuses to avoid doing anything interesting.

  6. I bet before we know it Demi will be joining you on ZTC kicking your butts on hikes and hashes. Time goes that fast.

  7. It’s a choice. They can choose to NOT to fulfill their dreams by hanging close to grandkids, but don’t blame it on them. IF the grandkids had a say in it they’d probably want Grandma and Grandpa to go on the trip of a lifetime. I think my kids have their adventurous spirit partly because they grew up hearing about where their Grandparents were traveling to 3-4 times a year in their motorhome, or to my tales of all the travel we did as kids. The very last trip my Dad did was a camping trip with my kids when they were 8 and 5. We’ve never lived closer than a days drive from either set of Grands, so they can’t say “we can’t go.” We’d encourage them!

  8. “The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.” ~Dave Barry

    There are many kinds of grandparents. It was a surprise to us that he closest to our kids was my late father-in-law, who had made a career as a business executive travelling around the world because of his work. He and our youngest were so close he still wants to talk about him and a picture of him is important to be in place. Then his ex-wife who wants to be called “Grandmother” (quite pompous) lives nearby, but usually calls only when she herself needs help with something (sadly has a drinking problem). She never helped us to take care of the kids when they were smaller (probably good). My Dad has a new set of children with a “trophy wife” (nasty me..) 5 years older than me. So he got to be a dad again when getting grandchildren too. Our children are more like cousins who like to spend time together. My mom has been an angel to help us many times but lives a 2 hours drive apart.
    Children don’t usually chat much on the phone, they are short worded and try to point things they think the listener would see too.
    I think a real bond and connection cannot be built over “a wire”. You don’t think You can have a love affair on different continents? To really get to know someone closely, there is a need for time spent together.
    I believe at the moment my heart would break if I couldn’t be in touch IRL often enough (remains to be defined). I put my hope in that our sons meet nice future daughter-in-laws’s, would love to help them with my hubby, when needed. And I would find reason to the let them have peace when not needed.
    This doesn’t mean one could not live on a boat and sail around. Just need loads of cash to fly sometimes.

  9. First off, we raised our kids to be independent. Secondly, I have dedicated nearly every waking moment of my last 36 years to my kids and their kids. Cruising is something I’m doing for ME. Yes ME (Gasp! a grandmother said the m word!). Besides, we have to have somewhere for my kids to send the grandkids when they want a month to take a breather.

    Deb
    S/V Kintala
    http://www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

  10. If we don’t raise our kids to not need us, we flunked parenting. In my case, it’s my 94 yo mother who still needs me. My brothers live far away and have spouses and in one case, children, so I’m it. My solution is to try to convince her to come with me!

  11. 100% spot on Mike.

    This summer my grandkid count jumped from 1 to 3. I am in Toronto. Two are in Ottawa (4.5 hours by car). One is in Montreal. (5 hrs)

    Do I wish that I could babysit them more often and tell them the goofy jokes that I told their dads 33 and 31 years ago? 100% absolutely.

    Do I marvel at my 3 year old grandson’s fascination when he visits and I take him for a ride in the front car of the subway or we stand under the end of the runway at Pearson as an Emirates 380 lands? 110% absolutely.

    Do I love listening to a 3 year old’s explanation of why the world works the way it does as he sees it? There is no better poetry written.

    Do I enjoy leaving them or seeing them leave? It is bittersweet but they have their life to live as do I.

    Cherish the moments together as well as the time apart.

    (The 3 year old already has his life jacket and is planning to be sailing – camping with Grampy next summer as we visit the Toronto Islands …or ‘fun island’ as he calls it.)

  12. If our children aren’t independent, we’ve failed as parents. Ours are proud of us and love to spend their vacations with us wherever we happen to be. We miss them like crazy the rest of the time. I think we appreciate the time we do get to spend with them so much more simply because we have to put so much effort into making it happen.

  13. I think it was basic curiosity about how you deal with a very human challenge, staying connected. Just like we all face weather, budgets and mechanical breakdowns. To put it in terms of who loves their family more or who is afraid to live life and makes excuses seems to me not a reaction but a strong statement. Maybe your readers just wanted to know something more about you as a person. Why? Maybe just curiosity or maybe because they might face the same thing someday. In fact most deal with it no matter what, sailboat or not.

    • Hi Sal

      Remember I said that this post was not directed at you, right? I promise, it was not. I don’t know if you’ve read every comment on this blog but I have, and I’ve replied to them. I also get a fair amount of private messages on Facebook and emails. In all these messages I can pick out certain themes, both pro and con. In my previous career in the fitness world, I developed an awesome BS detector when it came to excuses, specifically then about exercise. That same detector goes off at times though when people tell me why THEY CAN’T GO CRUISING. You didn’t say it but believe me, I have heard it. I just happened to be motivated to address that subject at this time. Thanks for inspiring me. 🙂

  14. I have come to realize that it is more important to me that my granddaughter knows me and has a relationship with me that gives her as much joy as the one I had with my grannie did me. My parents emigrated from England to Canada when I was 7 and I missed her, and one particular aunt and uncle, terribly. Yes, I managed without having them in my life daily as I had before, but I think I lost out big time. So for me, I choose to have that relationship. Thing is, I wasn’t expecting this. I had sort of forgotten how I felt about my grannie in the 36 years since she passed away. It wasn’t until the first time I held Malia that it hit me – I now have a very difficult decision to make because living in a warmer climate, and hopefully on a sailboat, has been my dream and biggest priority since my kids all grew up and left home. In the 9 months since that day, I have come to the decision, slowly and most somewhat reluctantly, that I can’t leave her for years on end and come back and have her not know me and for me to have missed her baby and toddler years. Yes there’s Skype etc, but that can’t replace cuddling her, standing her up on my knees and ‘dancing’ to the music, or making her laugh out loud. I can’t give that up. So… I have decided that I can do shorter jaunts… up to maybe three or four months at a time… once she knows that I am her Nan and that I love her to bits and she has a relationship with me. Plus at this point, financially that is a much more achievable goal for me so perhaps it is what was meant to be all along.

    It has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for me. Just like I am sure it hasn’t been easy for you not to see your granddaughter yet but it’s the right one for you. Everyone has to make that choice for themselves.

  15. My kids are for sale! What does that tell ya!

  16. Great post! I’d like to think we’re so much more than someone’s parent or someone’s child. We’re all individuals with our own lives to live. (I’ve had to remind my mom of this several times when we first broke the news to her. Luckily we told her years in advance and she’s finally getting used to the idea).

  17. You have one ridiculously cute grandbaby there. Congrats!!!

  18. Not only is that baby stinking cute, she’s pretty smart. That look on her face says, “Don’t you wish you were here baby sitting me right now?” Anyway, all I can say is that the world has become a very small place and thanks to airplanes we can be wherever we may be needed within a pretty short space of time. Like you, we choose to do our thing and travel about. Those that choose to stay close to home; more power to them, I would never judge them and I’d hope they wouldn’t judge us.

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