‘Mummy, I miss Carina. I love Carina. I want to hug her’.
When you’re three, everything’s a big deal. Everything joyful and hopeful is expressed with so much enthusiasm, with so much emphasis and meaning, that a failure on the part of anyone else to respond to such over-exuberance can lead to abject misery. Katie’s love for Carina is infectious. It has to be. If the rest of us fail to get carried away on her waves of enthusiasm then we risk tears, wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Lily, Katie and I hadn’t been to visit Carina since October. Julian’s worked aboard many weekends over winter and spring and on those nights when he’s away, Katie often looks up at me with big sad eyes when I put her to bed and asks, ‘Mummy, when can we go to Carina? I miss her sooo much’. ‘Soon’, I promise her. ‘Soon’.
So, with great excitement we all packed into Grandad’s car on Friday afternoon for the drive down to Plymouth. Katie’s excitement was infectious, as she told us how she planned to hug Carina, lie on her bed in the forecabin, lie on my bed in the (as she calls it) ‘half’cabin, and play in the cockpit.
When we got to the marina she bounced around with excitement, leading Lily and Julian to the pontoon, and trying to remember which boat was Carina. We found Carina in her usual spot, and Katie as always, hugged the anchor before being helped on board. She was so happy to be back on board, poking around, investigating all the nooks and crannies, exclaiming every few minutes ‘I remember this’. She and Lily ‘cleaned’ the deck, fighting over who should have the dust-pan and brush. They both squealed with delight when they saw a group of mullet swimming close to the boat. We went over to the beach were the girls ran free, collecting shells and climbing on the rocks, while Julian picked sea beet for me to cook later on.
It felt so good to be home at last. Carina is pretty empty at the moment, but during this week and next we will gradually empty the house and move our belongings aboard. That little taster of Carina on Friday has filled the girls with even more excitement and now Katie wants to know ‘when when when will we go back to Carina’.
I’ve never been one to fetishise my commodities, but Carina is a little more than that. She is our home, and I’m happy to encourage the children’s love for her. Because if they love her, they will respect her and take care of her, so she can be our home for many years to come.