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slynn 03-06-2003 05:05 AM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
My partner and I have planned for years to cut the ties to land. We purchased our 37'' Rafiki cutter 2 years ago. 2 of our children are already out of the house the last one is finishing school this year. We just sold one house, and plan on putting the last one on the market next month. All though this came as no surprise to the kids, leaving the youngest behind has left me feeling quite guilty. He says he''s excited but scared that I won''t be around. How does one cope with the guilt. A part of me can''t wait to step aboard, the "parent" part of me feels like I''m abandoning my kids. Even though I will continue to financially help him out. I even asked if he would like to come along, but of course at his age, he''d prefer to stay in town where his work and friends are. My partner says I''m a natural worrier and to relax, that things so far have fallen into place and they will continue to.
Any thoughts?
S/V Southern Comfort
St. Simons Isl GA

Sailormon6 03-06-2003 08:25 AM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
If your son marries the love of his life, and finds a good employment opportunity to support his wife and future family 500 miles away from you, do you have any doubt that he will be willing to relocate in the best interests of his own family?

You''ve done your job, and it''s time for your children to live their lives, and for you to live yours. Just keep in regular contact with them, to show them your continuing support, and so you can be there for them if they really need your help.

I''m grateful that my parents gently nudged me out of the nest at the appropriate time.
I''m very close to being in the same situation with my son, and I know how difficult it is, but it''s the right thing to do.

ABullard 03-06-2003 11:15 AM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
We raised our kids to be independent and I really don''t think they see our leaving them behind as a bad thing. They see it as us achieving a long sought after goal.

I think all the guilt is really our own longing to hang onto our kids. Think back when you were a young adult. Did you really pine after your parents? You, hopefully, loved your parents and wanted to see them, but only for short periods of time. Then you wanted to be free again from their oversight.

We do keep in touch and talk to our kids almost daily. One is 800 miles away, one 140 miles away and the last is 65 miles away. So isn''t it better to talk to them from the islands rather than from your old home?


DonFoley 03-06-2003 11:54 AM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
Hey, Southern Comfort! I chatted with someone on your boat a couple weeks ago. I was heading up the Frederica River, planning to drop anchor off the fort. It was low tide and I didn''t know what the conditions were over the bar (having never gone over it before) when I heard Southern Comfort on the VHS making a comment about dropping anchor and waiting for the tide. I called you up and was told I would have plenty of depth for my boat...indeed I did and had an abosolutely fantastic, picture-perfect anchorage that night. Thanks!

On the guilt thing, I''m trying to prepare my children early. I''ve got eight more years until my youngest goes off to college, but we''ve already told them that the second they''re out the door, we''re selling the house and shipping out. Hopefully laying the groundwork will help some!


S/V Anonymous

BigRed56 03-06-2003 07:43 PM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
Ahoy slynn, Dis ere old Pirate cut loose from his children in Philly and lit out for Florida waters selling everything. Wound up living with two wenches and when I thought to include a third well thats when I needed a boat to excape too. I was the one with the seperation anxiety, I still wanted to raise kids not retire! But my children were grown so I remarried and had two more. Now I think its time to go sailing again and who knows mabye my third wife ought to give me a son. See ders worse angles to the problem than you thought. Guilt is a terrible thing to waste.Pirate of Pine Island

slynn 03-07-2003 01:59 AM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
I remember when you radioed us. Small world. You''re right it was a perfect night, but the fog the next day.....we own a slip there, so we''d have a place to go back to without having to pay rent! It''s a great area.
Thanks to all for reminding me that I have nothing to feel guilty about!

sailingbauble 03-12-2003 11:10 AM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
The responsibility of any parent is to rear children so that they are independently self-sufficient. This is because, in the grand scheme of things, the child will outlive the parent by many years and will have to navigate on his own without continued parental support. If one is able to truthfully say that one''s grown children are independently self-sufficient then the job has been done well. If not, then the job is not yet finished and, in some instances, may never be finished. This is not to say that humans abandon their mature young, as in the animal kingdom, but that human life progresses in well defined stages.

Failure to recognize, accept, and adapt to the changing stages deprives all involved of the wonderful benefits that lie with each succeeding stage.

Some refer to this failure as the "apron strings syndrome". I prefer to call it "terminal motherhood" because the condition effects mothers to a far greater extent than it does fathers.

It manifests itself in the display of actions that reveals the mother''s fear of dread in every decision made by a grown child in a social situation. No matter how many spousal candidates are presented, none is satisfactory. When an engagement occurs, her involvement in the planning of the wedding ensures that is reduced to a cross between the Civil War and a congressional debate. After the wedding, the new spouse is not immediately welcomed into the family but has to undergo some sort of ill-defined test to prove worthiness, a test that is rarely passed with a sufficiently high grade. And, of course, when the grandchildren arrive, she knows that their rearing is all wrong.

So what do we have? A large group of miserably unhappy people.

The cure for terminal motherhood is to permit grown children to lead their lives, with guidance and advice offered, but without interference. This is what will keep a family as close as that particular family can be kept.

Young adults are still like flowers that have not yet bloomed; in an attempt to protect them, they are easily smothered. What they need, and will always need, is room to grow and the sunshine of a mother''s love.

There are far too many well meaning mothers who have unintentionally earned the dreaded title, "the mother-in-law".

As far as your reference to your youngest being scared that you won''t be around, my compliments to him for so easily heaping a massive guilt trip on you that you seem quite willing to accept. Is this the first time he''s done this, or is this par for his course?

Will not his two elder siblings keep an eye out for him?

Your live-aboard process has been evolving for a long time; you did not spring a surprise on him. You did give him a choice and he made it. Now you are grieving that he may have made the wrong choice. What would have happened if you had issued an ultimatum? No doubt, the result would have been the same -- only accompanied by acrimony.

Will there ever be a time when you will be able to live out your remaining years as you wish? In all of this, what is your responsibility to your "partner"? Only you can decide.

Forgive me for rambling. That''s my terminal affliction.

pirateofcapeann 03-13-2003 06:57 PM

Guilt of leaving kids behind
The youngest is 15 now. Unfortunately, she started school a year late and won’t graduate until 3 days before her 19th birthday. As a graduation present she’s getting an eviction notice. After I boot her off into the world. I plan to be heading out to sea with me foot still a hurtin’! I suppose her mother can tag along if she has the notion but if not, there’s more fish in the sea.



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