12 hours ago
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Jack's 14th Birthday
Jack's just a half inch from 6 feet tall and he's growing into a fine young man. Now at the age of fourteen, he has the skills of a real crewman. Over the last three years he has learned most procedures on the boat and is a great help to Patrick and me in many ways. He's a great boat handler and docks our boat in marinas, takes watches on passages, drives the boat for raising and lowering the anchor, and many other duties. He is in charge of the small motors, taking full responsibility for oil changes, fueling, and maintenance of the dinghy motor and the Honda 2000 generator. He's Patrick's grease monkey for the big engines and has learned so much about their maintenance. And yet he is still a great big kid in so many ways. He's at times very responsible, very irresponsible, goofy, mature, emotional, unsure of himself, cocksure, and full of testoterone.
Jack's fourteenth birthday was celebrated several times this summer when we would meet up with different friends, but the real celebration took place at Islotes with Hotel California in attendance. It was a perfect day. We rose early and hit the beaches for a miles long beach combing session. Jack's passion is finding rapala fishing lures on the beach and he found two that day. Then later that afternoon Hotel California sent him on a treasure hunt with clues that took him from our boat, to the beach, to their boat, back to the beach and back to our boat again where he finally received a small present from them and a plate of cookies. It was very sweet of them and they really added to our fun that day. Then we all shared a birthday dinner of lasagna and a cream cheese cherry pie to follow. It was a very low key event but all the more special for being so simple - just a great day spent with loved ones. Patrick and I didn't have one present for Jack and he didn't even seem to notice the lack of one.
That day is one of my fondest memories from our time here. We came out on this adventure, in part, looking to help Jack grow and mature. I like the way our experiences have shaped him. Most notably, he has none of the "gimmees" that so many kids have - no need for new things, electronics or a material present. It's an unconventional childhood, but it's been a good one for Jack.