Fear of the unknown bubbles up from my granddaughter’s gut, translating into vivid scenarios of everything awful just before doing something new. Like last year, at age five, she wouldn’t get on the boat the first time without full throttle crying, screaming and kicking. Neither logic, cajoling, promises of treats or threats could move Bridget beyond the dock. Finally, Mom exploded, threw her hands up in the air, swooped up Bridget’s wiggling body and planted her on the deck.
Amazed she was still alive, Bridget dried her eyes, wiped her nose on her sleeve, then proceeded within minutes to root around inside and on deck, fully enjoying herself as we picnicked aboard at dock. Needless to say, her Nana, me, has little patience for such silliness, but I should know better. My daughter, at age five, wouldn’t go down a slide. It took almost an hour before she finally slid down ever so cautiously. She would later become my major roller coast ride partner, so there is always hope.
This year Bridget, now a proud six year-old, marched confidently down the dock and bravely boarded with little fuss. Nana was proud and hopeful. However, once the engines started, she was sure the boat was going to sink. Once again, she began the crying, this year with much moaning and clear demands to ‘get off’. Obviously, she was too grown up now for the screaming and kicking part. Mom told her they were not getting off in no uncertain terms, but gave into her plea to go below, where she thought it was safe from sinking. (Don’t ask me about this logic, please!) But the engine noise quickly drove them back into the cockpit, where, as I expected, Miss Bridget took to sailing like a fish takes to water. Winds were light but enough to keep us moving and the sun was bright. Her only comment four hours later as we pulled into the slip was, “Why couldn’t we go faster?” I think we’ve caught us a new sailor.