Wednesday, February 13, 2008

H is for Hawaii


The first time I went to Hawaii was also the first time I had been on a real vacation as an adult. By real vacation, I mean going for more than a few days away from my hometown and leaving the country. I was twenty-five years old.

The moment I stepped off the plane, it felt like I’d arrived back at some kind of ancestral, prior-life home. The warmth, humidity and fragrance of the Hawaiian air enveloped me in a comfort that no other place has given me since.

It doesn’t make any sense, but it feels like my spiritual home. I’m at ease on the islands.

Over the years, I’ve returned more times than I can remember. My husband can remember the exact month, year and duration of each trip, but for me, it all blends into an (inclusive) I-wish-we-could-stay-longer/when-can-we-go-again/planning-the-next-trip/and here-we-are-again cycle.

When our boys were young, we went almost every year. People used to ask us how on earth we could travel and vacation with young children and still enjoy ourselves – as if it were some great burden. It never occurred to us not to enjoy ourselves. Every day, we’d pack our beach paraphernalia and head off for a day at the beach, often staying until nearly sunset, at which time we’d trundle them back - one in stroller, one on daddy’s back - to the condo for dinner and bed. If they weren’t too tired, we’d stop at a favourite atrium cafĂ© – juice for them, ice cold beer for dad, white wine for me.

They were sun-drenched water babies -- brown and wiry, fingers and toes wrinkled from endless hours in the water with barely a break to gobble down a sandwich or sip of juice, let alone dry off. As parents, we went from apprehensive eagle-eyed supervisors in fear of rogue waves or worse to relaxed companions and bemused observers of adolescent preening-posing as, year by year, they grew up on the sands before us.

Eventually, parental and child schedules couldn’t be reconciled and the boys (young men) stopped coming to Hawaii with us. Going on our own, we developed a different rhythm and enjoyed ourselves no less, but in a different way.

This summer, D and J will be coming to Hawaii with us for the first time in many years. They are coming with their significant others, neither of whom have been to the islands before. The planning and anticipation has brought back this flood of nostalgic memories. We look forward to making new ones.

It should be fun.

An Encyclopedia of Me post

1 comment:

Joy said...

I love this post! I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, and this made me want to even more. Those vacations with and without the boys sound idyllic. Hope this next one is just as wonderful and am sure it will be.