Another job is to practice smiling, so that when the girls fall out of the boat my expression says, “Wow! What fun.” On light-air summer days, I excel at this, but on windy fall days “smile” and “grimace” are interchangeable. One day when the wind notched up to around 20 knots, Andy said, “Don’t worry. They’re having a ball. They love heavy air.” He was right. The girls were having a blast. “Yes,” I replied, “they’re having fun because they trust us to keep them safe. So let’s go in.”
Over the Labor Day series, just Jordan crewed for one day. In the bow she happily communed with nature. “Look Mommy. I’m a wave. . . a gull. . . the wind . . ..” Then it occurred to her that she could have the coveted forward crew spot all to herself and that her legs would extend to adjusted hiking straps. Andy had reverted to quick tacks and threw the tiller. I screamed, “Noooooo!!” The five-year-old narrowly avoided a dousing. The next day Jordan says to Avery, “You stay in the bow. We are a team and we don’t need you.” Parental units were inspired to have a chat about “team.”
On one of our last fall sailing days, Avery skippered the boat to shore. The air was light and she was at ease on the helm. She tugged on the tiller, gybing the boat. Andy and I ducked. She gybed again. Again, we ducked. She found this cause-and-effect sport hilarious. Again and again she pulled the tiller and we ducked. Then, channeling the Duchess from Alice in Wonderland, she commanded, “Off with their heads!” and gybed again. Andy and I laughed so hard that tears rolled down our cheeks. It was a perfect moment.