Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Proud Mama

The last few days have definitely been action packed and full of water activities - namely surfing and now windsurfing.  We are coming into the season when Plum Bay has some nice waves (it takes a good northern swell for this to happen) and it is close to our home so we can run over and get a few hours in the water.  Ronan has also decided to give windsurfing a try.  I know there were many other posts that needed to be done but I wanted to get these photos up for family and friends who have been asking and I still have all the mama emotions from the events of the last couple of days - and I think you will see why.

The fun all started on Friday afternoon when we decided to hang at Plum with friends and see how the waves were - WELL

the break at Plum is on the right side of the bay - it is a little paddle out (which is why I am either out with Dillon or Joel our new friend/surf buddy who is a spouse to an AUC student) and the waves can break in a really strange manner - cross waves or changing direction at the last minute.  The more you come here you get used to reading them and you find your right spot to catch them.  This photo still makes the paddle out look shorter then it is (the header photo of the blog is also of the same spot).  Afternoon surf sessions here are beautiful with the setting sun and cooler temps but the smooth waves early in the am are definitely better.

I have not seen Dill from the shore catching waves in a long time ( I am usually behind the wave) and was so proud to see him ride this wave.  He is becoming much more comfortable with dropping in on the face and practicing his turning.

these pics are not great as it was late late afternoon and I was on shore but I was happy to have them

he even realized on this one he could have crouched down and rode the tube for a second - next time for sure - the hard part is convincing him it is time to go in at the end of the day 

there will be another post on all the non-surfing activities of the day (lots of kids, babies and mamas)
another beautiful day at Plum (even got Ro to paddle out with me for a bit)

Next up - Saturday - on Friday at Plum the fellow french guys in the line up were friendlier than last time and even mentioned Sat. morning would be a bit better (there is no actual surf forecast on any website for Plum - so you have to look at neighboring areas and the swell maps and make your best guess for the conditions) and well if we can get local insider info we are gonna go with it.  After discussion we decided to give it a shot and we would pick Joel up at 9 am - the other issue was that we had surf club in the afternoon at Le Galion and Ronan's first windsurfing lesson.  We would have to make sure we were home just after 12 to refuel, rehydrate, cool down and rest before the afternoon.  The plan was for Dill to go out with Joel and Ro and I would hang on the beach and take pics from the point - of course this did not last very long.  Ro ended up wanting to paddle out - which is awesome.  As you may have noticed Ro has not been out on a board much lately.  In the spring right before he broke his arm he was just getting to the point where he was comfortable enough to start catching waves on his own and he got rumbled by a couple of waves in a row.  He was completely safe and did exactly what he needed to do but it spooked him a little, understandably.  Then he broke his arm before he had a chance to get back on the horse so to speak.  Anytime he has been in a situation similar to his last experience he becomes pretty apprehensive. My plan has been to get him back out there slowly and when he was ready.  This has included some paddling out on his board at Plum and just hanging out watching the waves and becoming comfortable with the environment again.  Unlike many surf spots you can't just walk out a little and then paddle a bit - Le Galion and Plum require either a decent paddle out or a boat ride.  The feeling of sitting in open water watching for breaking waves can make you feel very exposed, vulnerable and even disoriented at times.  Ro and I have also had some conversations - whether he enjoys surfing and if he wants to get back out there.  His response has been yes I do - just carefully and not big waves.  So building his confidence has been the goal.  Friday Ro paddled out for just a bit and then wanted to head back in and play with all the kiddos on the beach - which was great, I was happy he paddled out and hung out for a bit.  I explained to him the more often he does this the more comfortable he will become out there.  Saturday he requested to paddle out to where Dillon was - I said ok and we headed out.  His paddling has become much more proficient and he is excited to be going out - this little yet big step made my heart swell.  The best was yet to come - Ro sat in the bigger waves and was ok with it.  He even said he wanted to catch a wave.  WOW - really, I was so happy to see that he was wanting to do this already.  In knowing that catching a wave out there would be a bit much I convinced to him to head to white water with me and we could work on catching a wave where it was more manageable.  He was psyched!!!!!  We played around in our little spot, reading the waves coming in, the timing and paddling hard enough to catch the wave and pop up.  After a bit Joel came and hung out with Ro ( I snagged my long board back and went to try to catch a few) and helped him catch a couple of waves.  To see the huge smile on his face and the happiness he was feeling when on the waves (even the little white water ones) made me want to burst.  We had been working towards this point for soooo long and it came when I least expected it.  I am so proud of Ronan for being patient with himself and getting back out in there in his own time.  Thank you to Joel for giving him that little boost on the waves and making the day that much better for him.  We still had a whole afternoon of fun coming up.  Dillon also had a great morning at Plum and I was able to get some pics from the point of a nice ride on a wave.  His confidence has also grown - he is more comfortable going for a wave when there are a few people in the line up (this really intimidated him at one point) - going for waves that are a little bigger and taking that chance and dropping into the face of the wave (when you are first learning you are guaranteed many wipe outs when learning this part and well I have mastered this move for sure - wiping out) - I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of watching him progress and it just makes this mama super proud.

I snapped photos of the whole ride - some I played with in editing a bit just to change it up some.

Awesome wave Dillon - you are doing great!!!!!

Dill and Joel waiting for some waves - I am glad Dill has a surf buddy to hang out with (besides his mom)

In my book the morning was a huge success - and an unexpected one at that.  I was hoping the best for the afternoon.  After a short break we headed out to Le Galion.  While Dillon went out to surf club on the boat (Joel joined him this time to give Le Galion a try) and I would have the opportunity to watch Ronan during his first windsurfing lesson.  Lets just say he never seizes to amaze me and did very well - it was a pleasure to watch Helene work with Ronan.  Another proud moment for sure.

Helene is a wonderful teacher and so patient.  We love everyone at Windy Reef (Jean Sab, Franck and all the french kiddos running around) and are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their surfing and windsurfing programs.  

focused and working hard

and thats my boy - so proud of you Ro - to pick something and go after it - I am happy to say he told me that everyday Dill goes to Surf Club he will be windsurfing.  I always worry if number 2 is stuck in the shadow of number 1 and not finding his own niche.  So wether it be windsurfing, surfing or any other activity - as long as he is enjoying himself I am good with it.

Yes - I know this post is long but so have been my last few days.  Full of emotion and physical activity so it did not feel right to break up the photos etc into smaller posts.  I was handed it all at once and wanted to remember it that way.  After the last couple of days I am still bursting with a smile and a full heart at seeing my boys accomplishments.  Not just what they did but the process of getting there and what they have learned along the way.  The tool and the skills that they will gain for the rest of their lives - perseverance, courage, strength, bravery, pride and that it is ok to take things at our own pace  - whatever it may be.  As  parents (I think my husband feels the same way) we always wonder and worry - are we doing the right thing? are we pushing to hard? are we not pushing hard enough? are these experiences a good thing - a bad thing?  and when you see it all culminate into a moment of happiness and a huge smile on their face then maybe you have just done something right.  After all the most important thing to me is to see my children happy and enjoying life.  Just like this post, life and the role of parenting is a long journey - it is full of ups and downs, tears ( a few were shed in writing this post) and laughter, hard work and joy!!!!!!!!!  Michael - I think we have done pretty good so far on this crazy road of life and I am looking forward to many more adventures along the way.  Boys - this is one Proud Mama - thank you for sharing these moments of life with me!!!!!!   I Love You So!!!!!!


  1. yay dillon and ronan! and yay mama for your perseverance too. you made these plans for your boys and stuck with them. it is nice to see what you talked about upon arriving to st.maarten come into fruition for your boys. you're doing a great job providing your boys with exactly what they need.

  2. Thanks,yes it can be easy to not make anything happen.

  3. Cheyenne, did you know how to surf before you came to the island? Or have you all learned while there? So far my two older have expressed ZERO interest in learning. Tanner is 100% baseball and Andi is a book work. I hope that when we get there that the island will get into their blood and they will change their minds. From your photos it seems like Ro and Dill are so at home on the beach... like they've been doing this all their lives.

  4. Casey - the boys have been going to the ocean and beach since they were babies - I think it is in their blood - it is in mine for sure. The boys had been begging for a surf trip so the spring before we moved here we went to Costa Rica and did a 2 week surf camp - they had a great time and added surfing to their favorites list. There is a great place to learn and continue to learn more here for sure. I am sure when they are immersed with the environment the kids will love it. A few trips to the beach with the boys and they will be hooked I am sure.