Our family, unlike many we see in our culture these days, is a together family. That means we do everything together—school, work, play, church, outings, meals, happiness, misery—you name it, and we do it together. When we went to meet Take Two for the first time, we drove the five hours to Fort Lauderdale together. The kids were aged 6, 5, 4 and almost 1. Although we’re not running a democracy (it’s more like a monarchy), we wanted their input. If everyone looked at the boat and said, “No way!” that would have figured into our decision-making. We want happy subjects in our little kingdom. But everyone thought it would be a great adventure, and the boys thought the boat would be their own personal playground, complete with climbing apparatus and trampolines. They still think so.
Now, since that time, a bit of the romanticism of that first day has disappeared. We’ve had rainy, leaky weekends, uncomfortable conditions at sea, cabin fever, loneliness, malfunctions, mischief, broken toilets, spills, frustration, and a toddler. But life is life wherever you are, with good and bad all mixed together. So we all feel ambivalent. Sometimes moving aboard seems like a great idea, and at others, we pine for our stable life on dirt.
Although we won’t have to yank our kids out of school, they are still leaving an established group of friends among neighbors and other home-school families we see regularly. That part is hard, because we can’t promise them a stable social environment where we’re going. Do they have cub scouts in the Caribbean? We will meet other families afloat, but to call it “regular” would be misleading. It makes us happy we have four—they are an established social group in and of themselves.
They express nervousness about all the normal things: shipwreck, storms, sharks, seasickness, boredom (hahaha), and discomfort. They look forward to visiting places we read about, to exploring and climbing and snorkeling and finding interesting creatures. Sometimes they miss being at the house, but they are the first to brag to people we meet that they are moving onto our boat. I think I know how they feel.