The cruising mothers here in the marina and those passing through are calm, happy, patient and beautiful. Living on a small boat poses many challenges for a woman, bring aboard a bunch of children and it becomes a miracle in living. The children, however, love the closeness of their parents and thrive in small spaces where there are cubby holes, places to snuggle, and no apparent awareness that their material possessions are few.
The deck of the boat is a vast jungle gym, with steps to climb, a boom to ride like a horse, lines to swing on and multiple levels for going up and down. Prowling the docks with a net in hand, the children spend hours catching tiny fish, shrimp, and the occasional squirmy eel. There are groups of kittens hiding in the gardens near the Marina Office. One little girl told me she was catching small fish with her net to feed to the kittens. Protected from falling overboard by netting that is stretched on the inside of their boat’s lifelines, toddlers squeal with delight as they throw bread crumbs from their boats to flocks of sea gulls and ducks.
Each morning the older children raise the flags over the entrance to the Marina Office, and on weekdays lead the younger children off to school. The youngest children are accompanied on their walk to school by their mums and dads with coffee mugs in hand. The children who will not be staying in the marina over the winter are being home schooled. After breakfast, little ones are secured into their strollers and enjoy with their mums promenading through the parks and along the waterfront. Several of the moms live aboard boats which are not secured to the dock, and travel back and forth in their dinghies, sometimes driven by one of their small children.
Simpler and more complex lives at the same time, creating responsible, smart and happy children. I hope you enjoyed this Mother’s Day story. I failed to mention that the dads are amazing, too.