Mum has now written two guest blogs on this site – now I’m going to turn the tables and write about her.
She has had a lot to put up with over the last 4 years (or last 40 years, some might say). It was August 2004 when I decided I was going to row across the Atlantic. This news would probably never be welcome to any loving mother, but my timing was especially bad as my father had just had a stroke and would die six weeks later. He had been a hale and hearty seventy-four when struck down, and it had come as a shock to all of us to lose him so swiftly.
Mum and I may well have become close anyway, in the aftermath of Dad’s death, but once she came round to the idea of my ocean-going adventure, the project itself helped to bring us closer still. She was my most stalwart supporter during my voyage, the one person to whom I could pour out my heart through all the ups and downs, the doubts and fears, the trials and tribulations, and know that she would carry on loving me and supporting me regardless.
We were a close family as I was growing up. Mum and Dad were both Methodist preachers, so we moved house every few years. It was tough on me and my younger sister, being torn away from our schoolfriends each time we moved, but it did engender adaptability, self-sufficiency and independence, and also forged strong family bonds.
But then once I left home to go to Oxford University and then to start a career in London, I saw less of my parents. They often lived far away, and I had a busy urban life. It was only when I went through my radical mid-life change of direction that I became closer to them again, maybe looking to them for clues as to my own identity and life purpose.
There are certain traits of my parents that I can now see in myself – and maybe it’s a sign of maturity, but now, rather than being horrified by any similarities, I am generally proud of my genetic inheritance. Mum gave me my wanderlust, tenacity, and “justdoitiveness”. She has these in spades. From Dad, my love of books, an ability to dream big, and his mantra: “Whatever you do, put your whole heart into it.”
But what I thank Mum most for is her unconditional love, and her willingness to support me in whatever I choose to do. I don’t have children myself, but I imagine it must be very difficult to stand by and watch a daughter who seems to “have it all”, throw it all away to row a small boat across oceans. Not only has Mum refrained from interfering, but she has supported me all the way, somehow fitting in her shore manager duties around her own busy life.
I am very proud of her, and honoured to be her daughter. I can’t wait to see her in Hawaii.
[photo: Mum takes the weight off her feet on a luggage cart in Las Vegas, May 2008]
Position at 2130 30th July Pacific Time, 0430 31st July UTC: 24 01.945’N, 139 35.290’W.
The last couple of nights have been very bouncy, making sleep fitful. But the wind seems to be decreasing slightly tonight, so I hope to catch a few more zzz’s. I’ve actually been surprised that I’ve got as much sleep as I have – when I wake up the boat is being slapped around quite energetically by the waves, and I can only presume it’s been like that most of the night, so it’s been a miracle that a light sleeper like me has managed to get any sleep at all – although I guess I’ve been pretty tired after a hard day’s rowing!
Thanks for the great messages – always a good way to round off my day, when I retreat to my cabin and pick up my emails.
Sarah O – always a pleasure to hear from you, especially – happy, bouncy emails! Please pass on my huge thanks to your mum for the socks. They were FANTASTIC in the early, chilly stages of the row. Deep joy. HSS – sorry to hear about your lettuces. One good thing about the ocean – no slugs and no bugs! Chris Martin – congrats on moving over to Good Energy.
And to anyone else in the UK – if you haven’t already, moving to Good Energy (or similar) surely has to be the easiest ever way to reduce your carbon footprint. You know it makes sense!
I am sure there must be similar schemes in the US, for buying your electricity from a company that uses only renewable sources like wind and sun. Any suggestions or recommendations? Post a comment and I’ll put them up on the blog.
Click here to view Day 67 of the Atlantic Crossing He Who Would an Ocean Rower Be – reply to those envying Roz.