Sometimes we all get a little off track. It may be due to an accident or illness, or perhaps just scheduling. Somehow this happens to me every June. With three kids, June is the wind up month: all activities and school draws to a close and our already busy schedule bursts at the seams. In the last week of June we’re also madly prepping for overnight camp: checking off items on the packing list and kit list, ironing on labels (big shout out to Mabel’s Labels!), and sorting out luggage and lifejackets. It’s a mad, limping dash to the finish line and real life (structure, work, meals) gets thrown off course. But that IS real life, right? Being thrown off course. Again. And again.
I was thinking about all of this last weekend when Toronto hosted The Redpath Waterfront Festival, featuring tall ships. Sadly, even though I LOVE the water and spent hours playing mermaid as a kid (44y is still a kid in case you’re wondering) I have NO sea legs whatsoever. The slightest motion on a boat and I feel green. This didn’t stop me from heading down to the waterfront to tour the awesome Draken Harald Hårfagre – a great Viking dragon ship, referred to as a “she”. My Norwegian roots combined with my love of fine craftsmanship made it an irresistible opportunity. There was also the stunning El Galeón, a reconstruction of a 16th century, five deck Spanish galleon – it is a dead ringer for Captain Hook’s pirate ship in Peter Pan. Back to the Draken Harald Härfagre… it is a reconstruction of a Viking ship that set sail from Norway and tackled an expedition across the North Atlantic Ocean. This is a SAILING ship with no below deck. Rough, frigid seas, and icebergs surrounded them. Building the ship was an epic undertaking, sailing it on this journey was even more impressive.
What in the world does all this talk of ships and sailing have to do with a nice little relationship blog? What does it have to do with an overwhelmed Mamma at the end of the school year?! Everything, absolutely everything. I’ve distilled it down to three key takeaways:
Dream Big, Be Bold
First of all , I am humbled and grateful to the creators of this amazing ship. Quite frankly, it’s a completely mad project and totally unrealistic. But someone had this dream and it grew into a reality. Enough people got excited about it to make it happen. I have profound respect for people living large, and those who follow wild dreams, boldly making them happen. On those lazy days when I just want to decompress, I need to kick myself in the pants to get out there, brave the crowds, and allow myself (and my kids) to be wow’d and inspired by greatness. The energy and inspiration is always returned tenfold.
It’s All About Team
Yes, the irony here is not lost on me: I work alone, I like time alone, and in many ways I’m a soloist. But most great ventures (and smooth running families) require teamwork. No single person could have built the Draken Harald Hårfagre – it took a team of people working together. No single person could sail it – it takes a team of people willing to literally put their lives in the hands of others and have one another’s backs at all times. Witnessing the camaraderie was delightful. In raising my kids, I rely on my partner, my family, and a community of other Mammas who keep me sane. In my work, I have colleagues and mentors who provide endless support, encouragement, and inspiration. I would be a mess without them.
An expedition of this undertaking - be it raising a family, running a business, or sailing across the Atlantic – requires regular course correction. Structure and plans are a great place to begin, but even the best-laid plans are rarely executed exactly as intended. It’s all about Plan B, or C, or D. For the captain and crew of Draken Harald Hårfagre, course correction is a matter of staying afloat, taking into account weather patterns, tides, and wind conditions constantly. June is a month tsunamis - of throwing my arms in the air and hoping that not too many balls are dropped. They won’t be juggled with ease or grace, but we keep going. Now that the kids are off to camp I’m all about course correction: getting the house back in order and catching up on work (thank you for your patience). It also means a return to healthy eating, more regular sleep, and the other lifestyle elements that keep me afloat. This is not the first or last time I’ll be course correcting, healthy lives and healthy relationships demand that it becomes a regular practice.
How about you? Any secret dreams that seem too big or unrealistic? Allow yourself the luxury of playing with those ideas and letting them percolate. Have you been taking care of your team? Does your team have your back? Check in and make any necessary adjustments and acknowledge your gratitude. And how about course correction… are you a little off track? A lot off track? Find your way back to the intended path, the path that will get you where you want to go. You can do this. Hey – if a team of dreamers can create a Viking ship and sail across the north Atlantic, you too can move in the direction that feels right for you. And if any of you have tried and true remedies for debilitating seasickness, please send them my way.