So here we are.
Scott went off to work last week for the next five weeks - his last rotation with Island Windjammers for the foreseeable future (the door to return remains open) - and Isla and I are on the boat, prepping her for our impending departure, a date that is hurtling towards us despite my attempts to ignore it.
We leave on Friday.
We fly back home to Chicago and leave the tropics, our boat, our home for the next fifteen to twenty months, give or take. That's right. We're moving back to land. We're going to become C.L.O.D's (cruisers living on dirt, though I really hate that acronym). And oh yeah, and I'm going to give birth to twins in the next couple of months. Our lives are about to do a major, major about face.
Ironically, it's the whole 'moving back to land' thing that's the biggest pill to swallow for me and I have been procrastinating writing about it because writing about it makes it real. I don't want it to be real. Don't get me wrong, I know that this is what we have to do and I know that this is what is best for our family right now. I am excited to spend the holidays with loved ones, I am happy that I am going home to my amazing friends and I am beyond grateful to be welcomed with open arms into a home that is full of happiness, laughter, support and love. Wonderful, amazing things are in store for us, and I should be counting my blessings that we have so much to look forward to and be thankful for all the options that are before us, but I just can't shake this feeling of melancholy that sits like a pit in my tummy. I can't seem to get excited about moving back to land, even with all the benefits that doing so entails. Each day I pack up more and more of our boat, I get a little more sad. You see, I don't want things to change. I am really, really sad to end this chapter.
I know, I know...Change is part of life. Change is good and necessary for growth... But despite being a person who's life has more or less been defined by coming and going and living pretty unconventionally, I have never been one to take unplanned life changes in stride with my head held high. Oh no, as much as I hate to admit this rather large character flaw (namely that I am a control freak), change that I have not been the master of has to pull me forward by the scruff of my neck while I kick and scream in protest: "But I LIKED the way things were!" "Leave me be! I was happy where I was!!!" When my best friend got married - as thrilled as I was for her to have found an awesome life partner, father and husband - I grieved for the duo that we used to be (and let me tell you, we were - and still are - quite a pair!). When I left Africa after three incredible life-altering years, I came home in a fog that took months to come out of. When summer and sailing season ended each year in my former land life, I mourned and went into a funk. When we part ways with buddy boats, I get weepy. In other words, when my little world is rocked, it takes me a good, long while to get my bearings again. Seems out of character, right? Guess I am not as "go with the flow" as I might like to think I am. I'm a walking, talking paradox at times.
Part of this current resistance, no doubt, is the fact that it is winter right now and (despite loving to ski), I never have and never will be a "winter" or cold weather person. I will be going home to temperatures in the single and possibly negative digits. Up north where I come from, is not unusual for the sun to remain in hiding for days at a time this time of year. It's dark a lot and, obviously, really cold. For a sun-loving, beach-going, warm-weather-lover like me, it's hard to get excited about those things. For someone like me, weather like that is just a tad depressing.
The other part of this resistance and sorrow is that I kind of feel like we're breaking up, you and I.
Sharing this adventure with you all has been a pleasure, you have brought me tremendous support, joy, insight and, sometimes, even friendship. You have challenged, inspired and pushed me. And while we have no plans to sell this boat (unless we buy another one) and are prepping to resume cruising again in the 2015 season (we plan to be based in the BVI's where it will be easier to island hop and adjust to life aboard as five, more on this to come), this hiatus will be a long one. I am still going to write during this land-based period, and when I feel inspired or have reason, it will be boat and cruising related... But for the most part - I'm going to be a landlubber embarking on a new adventure. Namely one of the "three children under three" variety. I have no doubt that being a mama to a toddler and twins (a situation likened to the 'decathlon of parenting' in a book I read) will provide me with plenty of fodder for amusing and insightful stories and blog posts, sporadic as they might be for a while. But I also know that reading about adventures in twin rearing is not why many of you are here...
And while I welcome with open arms the new followers of this blog who are reading to follow exactly that stuff , I also know that I will be parting ways with some of you - and that is totally understandable and okay (this began, after all, as a cruising blog). But do me a favor and refrain from actually telling me that you will be no longer be reading or that you are so sad we are moving back to land you can hardly stand it or that you just know we won't be happy ashore and that we should really reconsider our options (yes, emails in all three categories have been received). Right now, I need to focus on the positive and hearing those things makes me sad.
Regardless, as sentimental as I am about this chapter ending, I am ready to embrace this new adventure (yes, even despite the cold weather). It's time. The past couple of months have been challenging for us in ways that I have not shared. We need to re-charge our batteries and focus on what is the most important thing right now: our family and healthy babies. Scott and I were texting yesterday about this very subject and he reminded me that every major change in our life has lead us to something even better than before: from buying our first boat, to quitting our jobs to leaving Chicago, to sailing to Grenada, to Scott getting employed by Island Windjammers, to coming home for eight months to have Isla, to getting a bigger boat and resuming cruising again...all of these major shifts in our life were not without some yin and yang type emotions and growing pains...but every single time, and I mean every. single. time. we came out the other side better than before. Each and every transformation cultivated us into something greater, whether or not we knew it at the time. So, while I might be resistant to this big change upon us and lament the end of this amazing chapter, I know in my heart of hearts that this slash mark on the timeline of our lives will mark the beginning of something even greater than before...
And we'll be back on the boat, back in the islands, back to living our dream. Of that I am certain.
We have committed ourselves to a life less ordinary, a life where adventure is the rule and not the exception.
But for now, we'll take pause.