Every so often I like to read from the 1998 Oregon Sea Grant publication on the lifestyle of the commercial fishing family. I relate to so much of it (actually, all of it!) as a daughter, wife, mother, and former crew member in our fishing family. I’ve found the information helpful and relevant at every stage of our fishing family as we continue to transition and evolve.
I found the following two quotes from the article The Ebb and Flow of Fishing Family Life to be of particular interest this time around:
“So, although wives often feel great joy about their husbands’ homecoming, they also are concerned about how to assimilate husbands back into the family.”
“As they come closer to home, many fishing husbands feel happy to return, but also…concerned about fitting back into family patterns.”
When I first met George and he was flying back and forth to Dutch Harbor and the Bering Sea, our time together at home was pretty easy. It consisted of vacations in Florida, going to movies, shopping for and reading books, and setting up chairs on the balcony of his beachfront condo to drink glasses of wine at 4 p.m. every summer afternoon.
The livin’ was pretty easy, so the issue of “transition” was never an issue at all.
Flash forward almost a decade, and transition takes on a whole new meaning! While my husband has been gone, I’ve had our household running like a tight ship in which everyone and everything has its place. George has his own ship in which everyone and everything has its place. Being able to assimilate and integrate the two–our life together–upon his arrival home takes time, space, and patience.
I’ve learned that the less “comments” we make, the better. Here’s a random sampling of comments from last week:
“So, the kids are allowed to throw toys around now?”
“I wouldn’t have given a time out for that.”
“So…at what point are you going to stop working on the boat?”
“I have to get this done now. I don’t have any time.”
“Why are you grumpy?”
“I pulled my back yesterday and I can’t move it.”
Ahh. I’m actually smiling to myself. Like I said, the best idea is to give everyone the space and time they need to adjust to being together as a family, and take it easy. Time off and sunshine still await. And nothing in the world can beat the excitement of an (almost) two and three-year-old when they first lay eyes on the daddy they’ve waited for so long to come home, or the weeklong celebration of friends, family, and crew.
It’s a good time!