Seems I have a contortionist for a son, “Mom look I can do the knot”. After ten minutes his arms were in knots while the rope was completely straight. So mom has a go and she could neither knot her arms or the rope so we pass it on to dad. Dad after sometime figures it out we think but we can’t seem to agree if it is the right knot or not.
We have been over all the potential questions a million times and heard all about the sailing of the day twenty times but we are just as excited and so we listen five more times. Finally the light gets turned off and we are ready to sleep. “mom mom when is it 9h00”. Needless to say that it wasn’t for another 2 and a half hours but we were all awake ready for the day ahead.
Quiz is done, and fnally they are out the door to the boats, Fabio is first in line to get the boat, carrying sails, masts, dagaboards ropes and anything else needed to sail.
Nice easy day for mom as they are going to capsize but that will be done with the instructor on board and there while there is fear there is excitement to get it over with. Noting that my boy can float with a life jacket on but not yet swim he is ready for the capsize and he does it and survives.
On the third day there is excitement and nerves as now they will be sailing solo the instructor in the water and one on a boat watching them go up and down. Again the boy aces the tacks and does an amazing sail after a few errors. Pride wells up as he goes out again despite the wind getting a little more hectic. That wasn’t so bad only one child capsizes and one child cries about thorns on the side of the vlei.
Final day and they are actually going to be sailing not just tacking up and down. As he gets into the water and finally attaches the rudder a call is made to get out there isn’t enough wind? Crestfallen he gets out with the instructor almost tearing up as she sees his disappointment. But within half an hour a nice steady wind is up and about and the sailors are again ready to sail.
He can’t wait he is eagerly jumping up and down “is it my turn is my turn” and finally he is allowed into the water but oops his sail is to big so he has to get a smaller sail much to his disgust but he is obedient. I am happily shooting all of this from shore happy that he is coping and doing a great job when he turtles. He is just floating around and around with the boat upside down while every child is screaming “capsize capsize” and wouldn’t surprise me I also screamed it. Relief the safety boat arrives at his side.
“come on Fabio use your dagaboard you know what to do.” By this time I want to swim out to him because he can’t swim remember he can float but not swim he is tiny the boat is heavy. With my heart screaming get the boy out I turn and walk away leaving the instructors to get him going. Boat is right way up and he is bailing, but the boat is swirling around in a circle as he doesn’t have the co-ordination to do it all together. Finally he gets some help with the instructor steadying the boat. Relief now that he is on the boat all safe now they help him seriously. Thank you Axel for showing total confidence in my boy when mine failed.
“Luke come make waves for me please”. The wind is now pretty rough most the kids are off the water and my child is calling for more action please. Luke driving the safety boat obliges and makes some small wakes, while mom wants to knock him over the head and say “what on earth are you crazy”. My son starts spinning out of control and none of the instructors are offering any instruction just carefully watching his reaction. By now I am ready to swim to him and rescue him myself when he suddenly realises he is about to capsize and he jumps into action. Floundering alone certainly woke him up to the fact he had to act and think.
My heart was left on the shore as I walked away not because it was now pulped jelly which had seeped through my toes but because it had swollen with pride.
In 4 days I have seen my son turn from being co-dependent making rash decisions to suit his immediate needs forgetting about the future to thinking about his decisions. He is now confident thinks about consequences and acts a lot more responsibly. He has learnt to be a team player and help others whenever he can.
I want to tell you that the team of instructors we have at Mac are amazing. Axel is tough, with don’t tell me what you can’t do show me what you can do. Dianna is the softy who sympathises with the kids to a certain point bringing in a little softness to the training, but not butter soft. Luke is one who encourages them to push themselves harder without them even realising that they are doing it by bringing in the element of fun. Fabritzio was amazing in that while he took a more reserved approach knew every child’s capability and what they were up to. Sadly I missed the name of the other coach who enjoyed bailing the kids out when necessary and maybe a little to easily.
Axel the toughie was Fabio’s main coach for the first two days and while he thought he had been tough on Fabs, when I asked Fabs he casually responded with “No he was just teaching me to do it right.”
I can’t explain my pride and most of all gratitude to our coaches from Milnerton Aquatic Club for the sterling job they do with our new optimists. I can now fully understand why moms are not allowed to be at the course. I was allowed on one condition I would not interfere in anyway and would allow the instructors to do their job the only thing I could do was take photos. Somehow I must have succeeded because I wasn’t banned thanks Axel. Thanks guys for showing me how to let go a little and let him do it.