Fight. Fight. Fight against the dying of the summer light.*

I don’t think I’ve had as much fun sailing in all my life.
Maybe that’s all there is to say. Maybe I’m simply some weird, tanned, pseudo-preppie who is descending into some strange world where all I’m really capable of doing is droning on about how fantastic it is to sail under sunny summer skies, on warm salty water, in a small flat boat, while wearing white sunglasses and a crisp, white “Who Cares” visor, and sporting several days of beard that’s beginning to be speckled with some gray.

But I’ve got to be honest. If experiencing short blasts of simple pleasure that only screaming around on a Sunfish in a stiff breeze can produce is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I mean look at these videos, for cripes’ sake!

Part of the fun is the pure, childlike sensation of sailing a wet and “fast” (planing at least) boat where everything is reduced to the most elemental of elements. Sheet. Tiller. Hike. And sometimes the malfunctioning bailer. That’s about it. The better I get at coordinating those simple things, the wider the smile on my weathered face becomes.

But when I’m really honest with myself, the reason the sailing this summer has been so fun, and rewarding, and fulfilling, and downright fantastic has much more to do with the real-live child in my life than acting like a child out on the water.

admiral

I simply and profoundly love the little Admiral standing in the cockpit of my beloved little boat more than I ever thought possible. He’s only 2 and already taught me more about what it means to be a man, and an adult, and responsible, and loving, and entertaining, and human, and alive, and grateful than I ever could have learned had he not been so kind in joining us for this trip around the wheel of life.

And what’s really rocking my world, and pumping the gratitude meter up to 11, is that I’ve been given this gift of being able to raise this little one, and save myself in the process, by being guided by some pretty simple ideas: All kids (all people actually) need to know they’re safe, and loved, and that they don’t owe us anything. I know Sammy has come into this world as a fully formed soul and all I want to do is everything in my power to help him grow up to be the kind, well-adjusted, smart, funny, loving, irreverent, courageous, humble and authentic person he seems to be. And most of all, to be independent and trust himself and understand that despite much evidence to the contrary, the world and people are inherently good. And the more I’m able to do that for him, the more I begin to really let go and experience it for myself. Holy paradox, Batman!

And if he likes to sail, and ski, and volunteer at homeless shelters, and surf, and work hard, and water ski, and climb mountains, and study physics, and travel to exotic places, well, that’d be cool too.

*A few of you have mentioned that I’ve misquoted Dylan Thomas. And I agree. But the thing is, this title is the result of a conscious decision to say “fight” three times instead of sticking to the original “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” because this story is about prolonging summer and enjoying my wonderful young boy rather than getting old, and I’m pretty anti-rage in general. One friend joked, “It’s probably better than ‘Protest, protest.'” And he’s right there too.

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