“We’re selling the boat. Trying not to be completely sad about it.”
That was my Facebook status yesterday as my husband pulled the boat out of the garage to clean it up so we could sell it. It was the first time the boat had been outside of that garage in five years.
That’s when we moved here. It’s been five years. It’s actually been six years since we’ve used the boat. Clearly, it’s time to sell it.
But it’s making me very sad.
I’m not usually the sentimental type to get attached to things. There isn’t much in his house that I’m connected too, except maybe our green recliner. But there’s a lot of emotion tied up for me with that boat. The first (only?) vacation that Tim and I took together as a couple was a week on a New Hampshire lake with friends. Summers were spent out on that boat – camping at the marina at night and lazily floating in the sandbar during the day, working on crossword puzzles and reading the newspaper. Much of our pre-kid time was centered on boating.
I suppose there’s a lot of emotion tied up with boats in general for me. I remember being twelve or thirteen and going to get my family’s first ski boat. We picked it up on a particularly windy day and took hours motoring back to our marina, closely hugging the shores of Lake Champlain. My father taught us how to waterski off of that boat, and how to navigate the choppy waters of the lake. We would spend weekends with my cousins going back and forth in a tiny cove on the New York side of the lake. He taught me how to dock the boat and how to tie the knots to hold it tight.
I also remember it being a money pit and it needing constant maintenance. As we got older we used the boat less and less. When the marina fees jumped in price, we no longer kept the boat at the dock. The more time it took to take the boat out, the less time we actually used it. And eventually, my parents got rid of it. It just wasn’t worth it anymore.
And that’s where we are now with our boat. We’re now over two hours from our old lake. What was once a manageable trip is now a ridiculous undertaking. Under the best of circumstances. Hours in the car for potentially a short amount of time on the water. Hundreds of dollars in fuel now that gas prices are so high. Boat insurance. Time spent just getting the boat ready for the trip. Add in the unpredictable nature of autism and SPD and three young boys who have never been boating before…
I’m not blaming this on my son’s autism and SPD. But I can’t say that it’s not a factor in all of this. Because autism and SPD are a part of him and a part of our family. It has changed how we view…everything. It’s weaved through everything we plan and do together. I can’t just dismiss it and think he’ll be fine. And I can’t dismiss how my other two kids would react if my son falls apart.
There are dozens of reasons to get rid of the boat. There’s just one reason to keep it.
I feel like I’m giving up. I feel like I’ve failed.
Boating as a family has always been my dream. We don’t ski, or camp, or spend summers at the beach. Boating was going to be our thing. I had visions of spending time with the boys at a rented house on a lake every summer. Watching Tim teach them how to swim, and ski, and tie knots. Pictures of them driving the boat around the cove. Laughing as we told them it was okay to pee in the lake.
Selling the boat feels like I’m selling that dream. It’s the final realization that our family just can’t do all the things I thought we would do. We already skip family gatherings, birthday parties, and other events because it’s just too hard. I held tight to that boat in the garage because it was holding onto the last symbol of what I thought our family was supposed to be.
Friends have been telling us to sell the boat for years. “Wouldn’t you like to have your car in the garage?”, they’d ask.
I don’t care about having a spot for my car. I care about finding that one activity that pulls my family together as one.
I’m trying to see this as a dream deferred. It’s just not the right time for our family to own a boat. I know we can find something else that we can all do together. Something that works for every single member of our five person crew.
And maybe someday the time will be right again for us to have a boat. Maybe when the kids are older. Or maybe when they have kids.
I’m going to let the boat go.
It’s just a boat, right? It’s just a boat.
“It’s not far to never never land
No reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy
Of innocence again
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Takes me away
To where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free” – Sailing by Christopher Cross