Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The kids are all right

Occasionally, people ask us 'what do your children think of what you're doing?', and we answer that we don't know, but that they all seem to be getting on just fine without us. Which isn't an answer at all, more an affirmation of faith.

Freddy in his lunch break - young man about town
All through their schooling and into their university years, we told ourselves that our job as parents was to raise our kids so that they could leave the nest. If we had to nudge some of them towards the edge, it wasn't because they weren't fit or strong enough to fly, only that over time the nest became a pretty nice place to live. Convivial and comfortable, and why be free when you can be comfortable? I had those thoughts too as the deadline approached for us to pack up our house and go sailing. I was as wobbly as they were, though I tried not to show it.

How Pops saw me over lunch in Balmain
That was nearly a year ago, and here we are, back in Sydney, which is still their home town and where, for the moment, we are guests. We borrow their cars. We do lunch in the city, text them for a coffee, hang out in their back yards, eat from their fridges, sprawl on their couches, compare notes on movies and art exhibitions. They've got the apps but we're still not updated.  Dislocated, as Alex describes it. Somehow we know that this is how it's going to be from now on, if only we can get our heads around it.

We don't know what they think of us. We're here to satisfy our own needs more than theirs. That's what we tell ourselves. We also know that just as our opinion of the lives they are building doesn't and mustn't carry the same weight it did when they were children, so their opinion of what we are doing shouldn't and won't stop us from continuing what we've begun.

We are heading back to Turkey early next week, going home to the boat. We'd be over the moon if they - one or severally - visited us in the coming cruising season, but we're not counting on it. They've got the taste for freedom, and they'll go where they want and for reasons which make sense to them. Isn't that what we hoped for?

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