Monday, 16 November 2009

It's not easy being an involved mother

On the weekend I did the right thing and trekked to the NSW Central Coast to watch my youngest daughter, Miss Hissy, sail in the state championships.

I usually leave the sailing to Spanner. He loves it. And Miss Hissy loves Spanner and sailing. They bond over secret sailing chit-chat about jibes, tacks, runs and works. When I try to join the conversation Miss Hissy likes to remind me of my ignorance.

"Oh Mum," she says, rolling her eyes so far back in her head they almost disappear, "why don't you just let Dad explain without interrupting?"

But last weekend was BIG. If she didn't place in the top 12 finishers for Southern NSW, Miss Hissy would fail to make the team to contest the National Sabot titles in December/January.

On Saturday Miss Hissy did well in the two races. Overall, she placed 5th for Southern NSW (out of around 50 competitors).

On Sunday the weather was windy and the water choppy. I was invited to go out on a rigid inflatable - it sounds like some sort of sex aid, but it's a big jet ski/dingy - to get a birds-eye view of the racing.

The passengers sit on the soft (inflated) edges of the vessel, holding onto rope that is looped around the perimeter. The driver sits, jet-ski style, in the middle. The outboard motor gobbles up fuel like there's no tomorrow.

I thought: This will be fun. I'm doing this for Miss Hissy so she can see I'm actively interested in her sailing career. I'm an involved mother.

Along with Spanner and the driver, whose son was also racing, I climbed aboard, wearing a wind jacket for protection against the elements.

The next three hours were hell.

The driver immediately gave the inflatable full throttle and we pounded across the water, bouncing off its unforgiving surface. I flew into the air and landed with a mighty THUD (times this by 100). And every time we smacked the water, I was soaked by the equivalent of six buckets of salty water (times this by 100).

"Are you OK?" The driver shouted as I clung onto the rope for dear life, unable to see anything because my hair was stuck to my face and my sunglasses were askew and saturated.

I laughed hysterically, which he took to mean "yes".

Spanner didn't appear to be having such a hard time. He looked reasonably dry. It took a while for me to realise he had positioned himself at the back of the vessel, where there was less bounce and therefore less splash. Un-bloody-believable.

I endured the two races and Spanner's running commentary (Miss Hissy blew it big time in the final race where she went into irons - where the boat turns into the wind and the sails don't fill).

My duty done, I staggered ashore after we screamed back to the jetty. I was soaked through and had to change into Spanner's spare clothes - a T-shirt with a skull-and-crossbones print and board shorts. And because I forgot to bring a comb I spent the rest of the afternoon looking like someone's eccentric great aunt.

It wasn't until we arrived home after dark that I discovered my mascara had run down my cheeks. No one had bothered to tell me!

So ends the involved mother phase. From now on, I stay on dry land with a pair of binoculars.

PS: Fortunately, Miss Hissy made the team. There is a God.


Erin said...

So there you go! It takes a special kind of person to be a mother. --- I'll bet you once thought a few months of toilet training and the work and worry is over. You probably even said it would be plain sailing after that. --- We live and learn. ----- Thank you Shane (for the fun read) --- Erin

Erin said...

Make that Shayne (sorry)

Anita Joy said...

Lol Shayne. I come from a big sailing family (first boat was a p-class, then went to a 125, although my brother did the sabot thing). Mum always stayed on dry land (she can't really swim), but Dad has salt water in his veins. I loved it - and that was the time for our father-daughter bonding also. Your story took me back!

Shayne said...

Thanks Anita and Erin
Anita - your kids might end up sailing. It's a great sport and it can be cheap if you get them on as crew!