The Gift Of Time.
If I’m honest I felt torn this Father’s Day. I had a real reflection of all the incredible fathering I’ve had in my life, I also had a huge appreciation for the amount of time I’ve been able to put into fathering my three wonderful kids. I reflected on the incredible rare privilege it is as a father to explore and adventure with my son on this current project. However this was tempered with that incredible homesick sadness to not be with the rest of the family accompanied by that actual chest pain feeling of missing precious time with grandson Ru, the brand new character in the mix.
As the day passed slowly by, the seas rose, the winds rose and as a crew we kept the Nanook on course and tried to minimise strain on her ropes and rigging. This physical and mental effort robbed us of that quiet reflective time that a significant day passing often demands. When I look back on it - that’s the way it needed to be, and it was kind of magic. A father and son quietly working together as a team in perfect harmony in one of the world’s most isolated places. I was able to watch and admire the incredible qualities that make Kit so well suited for these harsh environments. In equal portions Sarah’s incredible wisdom, calm reflection, thought before speech, empathy for fellow man mixed with my mongrel, my drive and fight. I was able to recognise qualities that have come from the generations before, the artistic eye, the appreciation of light and colour, that creative streak mixed with skills and tweaks that are new to his generation.
The ability to be stuck in a cold dank confined space, getting rolled and rattled across a nasty ocean without frustration or harsh word has come from time in the wilderness together. Many expeditions, many miles spent hiking with my kids, always promising we were close when we never where. Many nights in tents that leaked, misadventures, getting covered in grime and mud or sailing in imperfect boats, this is all part of Jade, Java and Kit’s DNA. It is the arena that taught these kids resilience, tenacity and grit, but above all it taught them about themselves. If I could distill the single benefit of all those misadventures into one simple word it would be “time”.
It gave them time with their Dad, a Dad trying to fix his mistakes, mis-navigations, equipment or vehicle failures, a Dad making sure he got his kids home safe. That time is the most precious thing I have as a Dad.
If I reflect on the most valuable thing that fathering through an adventurous life has taught Sarah and I, it is that above all things kids just want time. Time with their parents in the formative years trumps all stuff; most kids would give up the stuff for time. The holiday house, the pool, the nice car, all nice but no substitute for intentional time together.
Locked in a 48 foot steel sailboat sailing to Patagonia, Kit and I have no shortage of time between here and the safe shores of southern Chile. Maybe that’s the most important Father’s Day reflection. To genuinely appreciate that precious time together, time that Sarah, Jade, Java and the rest of the family have sacrificed we shall not squander. We will be grateful for every minute as we slowly sail east.