Spontaneous Family Time

I’m sad to say, our family hasn’t spent much time together since we bought our fishing boat last year.  That’s just the way it goes for fishing families, especially when a new operation like ours is struggling to find its feet.  Zed has been gone crabbing for a month now out on the Washington coast and the kids and I miss him terribly.  We probably won’t get in much quality family time until Zed wraps up the Dungeness crab season, but we have no idea when that will be.

our boat tied up in the Westport harbor

our boat tied up in the Westport harbor

So, until we find ourselves with an excess of time and money on our hands, we must make to most of our situation and seize every little opportunity we have to reunite, even if only for a few hours.

Zed called me last week to say the weather was too rough to fish, but he couldn’t drive home because he had some repairs to do on the boat.  Would I like to drive down that evening with the kids and visit for a day (and bring him some clean laundry)?  I mentally ran through our schedule for the next day before mentally crumpling it up and throwing it away.  Yes!  I don’t care if I have to take both kids out of school for a day, skip Atticus’s Kung Fu lesson, reschedule a playdate with friends, cancel the art class I teach, and drive for 5 hours in the pouring rain through Seattle rush hour traffic.  Our boys need to see their dad and I need to see my husband!

I stuffed some clothes in our bags, crammed our two giant dogs in the back of our station wagon, and the five of us (including the dogs) hit the road!

All loaded up and ready to go

All loaded up and ready to go

5 hours (and a few potty breaks) later we pulled into Westport, a busy fishing port on the Washington coast.  We were all exhausted but it was a wonderful reunion nonetheless.  It was 9:30 pm by the time we checked into our hotel, so we all passed out pretty quickly.  Judging by the sounds of Zed snoring, I think it was the first good sleep he’d had in a while.

This was the view of the ocean I woke up to in the morning

This was the view of the ocean I woke up to in the morning

While Zed worked on the boat the next morning I played in the hotel pool with the kids.  We all met up for lunch and then tagged along as Zed ran errands for the rest of the day.  The kids were SO excited to hang out with their dad and visit our boat in the Westport harbor!

hanging out on the deck of the Robin Blue

hanging out on the deck of the Robin Blue

And before we knew it, it was time to head back home again to get ready for school the next day.  Before getting back in the car for the long drive home we took a stroll on the beach to stretch our legs one last time.  Flat sandy beach = happy kids and dogs!

a kid and dog paradise!

a kid and dog paradise!

The moral of the story here is that, no matter how busy you are, you have to put family first.  It is too easy to get caught up in paying bills and forget that our family is the whole reason why we work so hard.  If no one in the family is happy, what is the point of working so hard?  Even in the fishing world (especially in the fishing world) parents need to take a break and spend some time connecting with their kids and spouses.

a glimpse of the sun as we left the beach

a glimpse of the sun as we left the beach

Moments like these are never regretted.  We will never look back on family time and think, “if only I had spent more time fishing and less time making memories with my kids!”  I have, on the other hand, heard too many older fishermen look back on their careers and regret all the missed moments they never shared with their children.  When those moments pass – when your kids are grown – there is no way to get them back.

Zed on the beach with his boys

Zed on the beach with his boys

Even though we spent more time driving than visiting with Zed, I would do it again in a heartbeat, just to see my three guys together again.  Money can’t buy that kind of happiness.

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13 thoughts on “Spontaneous Family Time

    • Thanks Lori,
      I Totally agree. Even though my son goes to a great elementary school and has a wonderful teacher, he is expected to attend full time (all day, every day). He’s in Kindergarten! That just doesn’t leave much time for experiencing the rest of the world. The school secretary gave me a hard time for taking Atticus out of school for one day, but as a parent you have to do what you feel is right, even if it conflicts with what is expected of you.
      -Robin

  1. Oh, I’m so happy for you guys, Robin! Good job crumpling that mental list and trusting yourself. I think our friend Dan (who Zed talked with a bunch back in December) just had a similar reunion with his family in Newport. Good on you, and hugs as you carry on to the end of the season.

    • Thanks Jen!
      I’m glad you liked it. I got a little emotional writing it, just thinking about how much the boys need their dad. It’s a difficult time of year, but we have been getting a little more time with Zed in the last few days because the weather is too bad for crabbing. It’s good to have him home!
      -Robin

  2. Robin – good call! That family time is precious. As you said, it is also necessary. For all of you! It is sad you felt a lack of support from educators. Try talking with the principal. Our fishing family has successfully collaborated with our local schools to have our kids be able to spend time with their dad because he spends so much time fishing away from home. Our son was even able to go out for several days of King Salmon trolling off the WA coast with his dad when he was 7-years-old (missing a few school days). Experential learning can be so positive! More so when it involves quality time with a geographically distant parent. Plus, it helps the kids with their school learning as it picks the entire family up emotionally. Ours is a unique lifestyle and culturally different. It can be hard for educators to acknowledge this in a respectful way. However, you are the expert on your kids and you are entitled to putting their best interests first-which you did!

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