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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.