One of our clients arranged a day trip for his employees and subcontractors on Adventure Cat last weekend. This is a 55-foot catamaran, which takes a 90-minute sail around the San Francisco Bay – from Pier 39 to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. After a great deal of discussion, we decided to leave Captain Adventure with Grandma (which kept my blood pressure at reasonable levels), bundled up the girls and headed out to Pier 39 for the cruise.
You know, some clients really make you want to keep working for them forever.
Arriving a bit early due to well-documented paranoia around running late (which is our normal – either thirty minutes early, or thirty minutes late, minimum), we first found an artist's rendition of how our Wait, When Did This Become A Family Bed?! looks on the average Saturday morning the sea lions, lounging around on docks set aside for their exclusive use.
I totally do feel like the sea lion on the bottom of that pile sometimes. The kids don't sleep on their father, ooooooh no, they pile on me…
Anyway. In due course, we boarded the catamaran and headed out into the Bay.
Much to my surprise, Boo Bug went out on the bow and stayed there during most of the cruise. She's my shiest, most-nervous kid, the one who clings to my leg and whimpers that whatever it is, it is scary. But there she was, right out in the wind and waves, walking on the net.
And then, she drove the boat. The captain asked Danger Mouse if she wanted to drive, but she'd just taken a wall of water that had drenched her from bangs to toenails and wanted to just sit quietly in her chair sipping hot cocoa and wishing she were warmer. Boo Bug immediately started jumping up and down saying, "Me! Me! ME!"
So she took the wheel and we did not run onto any rocks on her watch, way to go, Boo!
Then Eldest took a turn. Wearing my jacket, because her jacket wasn't warm enough. It was Musical Jackets! Boo Bug was wearing Danger Mouse's and her own, Danger Mouse had a new one, Eldest wore mine over hers and I wore a new one! QUICK! EVERYBODY GRAB A JACKET!! Oooooh, too bad, you didn't grab fast enough, guess you're gonna be cold, kid…
Then, just when everybody was so cold and wind-whipped and otherwise really ready to stay in the cabin…my husband started yelling, "Let's get a picture! C'mon, everybody outside, let's get a picture!"
Which is why Danger Mouse and Boo Bug are clinging to us looking like they are having the most miserable time of their little lives, when actually they were having so much fun that they went straight to bed when we got home without bothering to protest at all.
It was an awesome trip, and not something I would have done on my own. We've been talking about needing to do things like this more with the girls, because frankly they get a bit short changed when it comes to Family Outings. It's all about what their brother can or can't handle, or what their parents can or can't handle when it comes to dealing with him in public. So we tend to stick with things close to hand, and things that aren't too exciting / dangerous, and places where if he melts down we have a quick exit, and keep the overall time short.
It's not fair, and it's not right. They're awfully good kids, and put up with a lot of crap just in general. The usual Large Family crap, where getting your slice of attention can take a lot of work. The Working Parents crap, where they forget to turn in your permission slips or can't come to your 10:30 performance of Sing A Little Flower Song because they're working. The Special Needs Brother crap, with the public meltdowns and the questions from your friends…uh, how come your brother is flapping his hands like that and making that weird barking noise…?
They handle it all with grace and class, and (mostly) sweet and loving patience. (And mommy doesn't fault them for the occasional impatient and angry outburst – first of all, that would be the pot calling the kettle black, and furthermore they're right! It isn't fair and it isn't right and even if Life is often neither fair nor right, it still sucks when things fall out that way!)
They deserve a lot more Adventures like this…and respite care / Grandma / babysitters willing, we'll try to get them going until he's ready to join us.