Did you ever have a woobie? Do you know what one is? I had never heard of a woobie until sweet little Hannah dragged one into my house. Hers was a tattered old white cloth that may have been four cloth diapers that her clever mom sewed into a larger rectangle. Every time she returned for a visit, this woobie was a little more raggedy and a little thinner or smaller. I never could figure out what was so great about this piece of fabric, or why her mom let her drag this thing through the mud, onto her dinner plate, into her bed, up to the paint table, and beyond.
Then my children started dragging things around. Kenny had Thumper Bunny. He willingly shared every toy he owned at our home with all the day care kids who arrived daily and pounced on all of his belongings, but not his Thumper. I don’t remember how this was communicated, but the kids just knew that Thumper was Kenny’s and was not for sharing. Lindsay had a Christmas bear. This bear was dressed in Christmas finery and was a gift from her only Jewish relative. I love the irony of that! Beary’s head had to keep getting sewn back on because it was loved off many times. And Erica had her pink and blue blanket. This was a gift from my best friend Cathy, who sewed it before we knew if our child would be an Eric or an Erica. When we sold our home last year to move onto our sailboat, most of our remaining toys were given away. But not Thumper or Beary. Unfortunately, the blanket was buried ten years ago with our beloved cat, Captain. Erica insisted that we bury the cat in the blanket because they both snuggled with it for the last year and it would bring her forever comfort. I think Erica regrets this decision today.
What does any of this have to do with sailing? Well, it struck me today that I need a woobie. I don’t know if I ever had one. I was one of eight children and my parents lost track of a lot of things, not surprisingly. But I am like a young child right now. Everything is so new. Each day brings ten new ideas that I have to process. Look at this amazing bird, what is it? How do I cook with this new pressure cooker? How do I negotiate these huge waves in the dark; do I just steer the course, or steer around them? What size anchor do we really need; I thought we were all set with our 44 pound Bruce? What should we do if Joaquin comes right overhead? How do I sew this wicked thick material for my new sail cover on my old Kenmore? Do I have enough cans of chicken in our stores? How do we use this whisker pole on the genny (the sail farthest forward)? How can I shower quickly enough in the cockpit without freezing? Why is Wifi so elusive? Will we have enough power to keep our food cold or should we replace our old batteries? How can I talk to my children and parents more frequently?
I need a woobie right now! As I type, I am at a four day Whitby Brewer Rendezvous with an amazing group of people. Each person owns a boat like mine, and is far more experienced than I am. Every person has shared information about what to fix, where to sail, which device to get, how to sew helpful gadgets, who to contact in the Caribbean, where to get insurance, and so much more. I am like Hannah, needing something to grab onto to hold to say “This is familiar” when too many new things are coming my way. Can adults have woobies too?