Sailing is very important to my family. Almost all of my childhood summer memories include sailing in one way or another. Most families pile into cars or airplanes to go on summer vacations, but my parents would load all five of their children into a 27 foot vessel on Lake Erie. When I was very little, we had a smaller boat named EasyBe. As kids got bigger and my mom had more babies, my dad bought a bigger boat named Kinship, which is what we sail on today. Kinship would take us to beaches, where we'd collect lake glass and try to catch minnows; to Canada where we would chase hundreds of monarch butterflies through the air; Cedar Point where we'd get thrills on roller coasters; and to the islands of Lake Erie, where we would learn the history of Admiral Perry and the war of 1812. It was like having an RV that floats, and only goes where there's water.
Last week was a moment to mark in Jonah's baby book, because he took his first sail on Kinship. When we got to the Marina, we were able to get infant-sized life jacket on-loan. I thought that he would put up a fight about having the life jacket put on, because he fights me when I try to put just his shirt on every day! Surprisingly, he was very cooperative about having to wear it.
As we were sailing out into the open lake, Jonah watched the birds on the break walls. He jabbered on in his baby-talk as if he were telling us a whole story. He tried to point to things, but he doesn't quite understand that he needs to straighten out his index finger. Once we got underway, he became very interested in the ropes and the sails. A couple of hours into the trip, he started to get hot, tired, and fed up with the bulky life jacket. My mom took him into the cabin and played with him there until we got to the restaurant where we were having dinner. We docked the boat and went into the restaurant. Jonah was very happy to be out of the life jacket, and in air conditioning.
Because it was a six hour sailing trip, and a fifteen minute drive, my mom and I decided that we would call my aunt and have her bring the car to the restaurant while my dad sailed the boat back to the marina. Jonah was getting grumpy because it was his bedtime, I was getting a bit sea sick, and Mom was getting sunburned. After dinner we spent the rest of the evening with my aunt and grandma, while my dad sailed the boat back.
It was a very nice, relaxing day. I was very excited to see Jonah enjoying a pasttime that is such a big part of my own childhood. I am hoping that in years to come, my own family will enjoy summer trips on the lake, to see the butterflies and catch minnows at the beach.