Last week I wrote of how graciously Mr. Wonderful took it when I accidentally bumped our (read: his) custom boat trailer off a post. I am proud to say how nice he was about the whole thing. He didn’t get upset or call me careless or dumb (both of which would apply). He knew I tried my best and felt terrible about the mishap. He went out of his way to assure me it was “no big deal.” (After some gentle teasing of course).
This weekend we decided it was high time I learned to drive the boat. I was tired of being that wife who sat in the passenger seat doing nothing and tying up a dock while my husband raced hither and yon handling all the details. If I can drive a car I can drive a boat. How hard can it be? (Insert ominous soundtrack here).
Preparing to launch, Mr. Wonderful walked me through all the steps I would undertake in the boat. I was full of questions and he dutifully answered every one. I’m sure at one point he wondered if I had ever — even once — paid attention to what he does with the boat (the answer is no). I’m usually in charge of sunscreen and snacks. We were in unchartered territory here.
Boywonder and I were seated in the boat on the trailer as Mr. Wonderful, in the truck, backed us effortlessly down the ramp (he’s a very good driver, and would never bump a post with a boat trailer, I might add).
There is that magical moment in boating when your craft become buoyant and your captain gives the nod from his position in the tow vehicle to commence launch procedure. My time had come. This was my moment to shine.
I proudly eased the gear into reverse, prepared to glide gracefully off the trailer. We moved backwards a few feet with me standing proud at the helm. How cool did I look right now? Would my ponytail still fit my big swelled head? This lasted about 10 seconds until we collided with something with a jarring thunk! Thunk? That just didn’t seem right but this is my first time. What do I know?
I recall looking up at Mr. Wonderful with a puzzled look and seeing his face and knowing, instantly, that something was about to go horribly wrong. The look was horrified. Gee, is it always so hard to get a boat to slide straight back off a trailer, and why are we going sideways right now?
In the ensuing moment of panic as the boat swung sideways on the partially submerged trailer, it became clear the boat was somehow unable to come free of the trailer. We were hooked, and now twisted, making it impossible to back the boat off the trailer — or set it straight to pull the whole thing out. Being brand new I stood in abject horror, unsure of what to do.
A bystander (bless him) came racing down the ramp on foot to assist. Before he could reach us, Boywonder deftly leapt overboard and unhooked the strap releasing the boat from the trailer so we could finally swing free into the water.
As an aside, there is a special pride, mixed with hubris, when you realize your child is more capable than you and just saved the day. Nice work son.
The mistake? We had missed a most basic step of launch procedure. Release your craft from the trailer. Our boat has two straps at the rear to keep it safely attached to the trailer when in tow. Let me assure you: they work.
Mr. Wonderful took full ownership of the error. This is a wonderful character trait to have in a mate. He didn’t blame me (he could have, because I’m too green to say otherwise). There is no doubt my inexperience and pre-launch peppering of questions distracted him and led to the error.
I am by nature a grudge holder with an elephantine memory for the way things have gone wrong. Nonetheless, if I have learned anything after many years of marriage it is that forgiving and forgetting is key to any good partnership.
Life will inevitably rock the boat. I think the key to success lies in learning there is no “yours” or “mine” but rather, “ours.” This applies to blessings, bills — and blame. The best way to cope is not to say “remember when she hit the pole” or “he failed to double check?”
No, I suggest you steer clear of anything being “her faulty driving” or “his inattention to detail.” That kind of thinking will sink you quick. Sharing the burden of fault and forgiveness, on the other hand, just may keep you afloat.