April 15, 2010

Cruising Kids

They lagged way behind us as we walked, but it didn’t matter, we slowed down and waited. There was something about the way they kept interrupting each other, grabbing each other’s hands, tucking their heads close together, giggling at words we couldn’t hear, which made us decide there was no reason to rush them.
  For over three months Maia and Sirena have been emailing each other, “Where are you now?!” Hoping they would find themselves in same harbour--the way they had in Coos Bay, Morro Bay and Newport Beach. Finally the email came, “I’m in La Paz. When are you arriving?”
 “Being a cruising kid means you get to be completely yourself,” Sirena told Maia, not long after they met. It was a day when Maia was lamenting the loss of her school friends and Sirena was explaining that by travelling on a sailboat she had a chance live without peer pressure.
Maia didn’t understand what Sirena meant. But I listened as the wise girl (who by the age of 11, felt she was well versed in the challenges of peer pressure) explained that by spending time on her own, or with a few kids who were equally self-sufficient, Maia would have lots of time to learn who she was, and what made her happy.
 The kids we meet out cruising seem to be more purely themselves than any we’ve ever encountered. The differences aren’t overt; we see it in the little things: The way they form well thought out opinions; their ability to handle stress and change; the enthusiastic way they embrace the unknown; their confidence that what they say has value.
These days, every time I think we’ve hit a situation that may push Maia past her limit, she simply rises up and meets the challenge—almost effortlessly. When I see her becoming purely Maia, I remember Sirena telling her how lucky she is that doesn’t have to shape herself to fit into a group. That she just gets to be.
 And now these two get to be together for a while.


Kelli said...

this is so wonderful.

boatbaby said...

posts about my little Maia are always my favorite. So happy she's finding her tribe!

Unknown said...

How lovely!