Palm Trees Are My Spirit Animal


I always feel depressed the day we get home from Hawaii. I know that sounds like an ungrateful pretentious thing to say, but it's the truth. Hawaii is just so incredibly beautiful. The beach and the sand and the palm trees and the breeze and the's all so ridiculously perfect.

It's been our vacation destination of choice now for over twelve years. Rob and I went to Kauai on our honeymoon in 2004 and have tried to make it back once a year. Give me any choice of destination and I will always choose Hawaii. I'm so sentimental over the place it borders on silly.

Of course one of the reasons for all the sentiments is that my kids have been going since they were babies. We get to our resort and the first thing I think about when I see the pool is 9-month old Gunner in a swim diaper floating in his blow-up yellow duck. We walk into our room and I think about how there was always a crib set up for us. We walk down to the waterfall and I think about Colt falling in and needing rescue. We walk to the beach and I think about Gunner losing his Thomas the Train toy in the sand, never to be found. I remember them crawling in the sand because they couldn't yet walk and I remember all the free time I used to get when they would take their daily 2-hour naps.  

I'm wistful to report that I still don't get much down time while on vacation. Come to find out, 6 and 8 year olds still need near constant supervision while at the beach, the pool, restaurants, everywhere. Each time we go, I bring one extra book "just in case" I have time. I never have the time. And it's ok. It's most definitely ok with me because I am someone who never wants my kids to grow up and I know one day they will, and soon we will all be together in Hawaii and I won't see them half the time. And I know I will be sitting alone at the beach in a pile of unread books wishing I didn't have time to read any of them. Hawaii just holds so many sweet memories for me of my kids that it will always be my favorite place on Earth. I hope one day we are taking our kids and their kids also. It most definitely is our home away from home.

This trip was no different. We flew to Hawaii on Christmas Eve day, brought the stockings and Santa arrived on Christmas morning just as he said he would. The next 8 days were spent at the pool, the beach (which happens to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world), the hammocks and the pool bar, obviously. There is something about waking up and walking straight out your door and onto the beach. It's that "something" in my life that is my most adored piece in the world. 

This was the first year that both my boys would put on snorkel gear and go out into the ocean with us. We saw turtles and nemos and eels. They boogie boarded until dark and met so many friends you would think their entire school class went on vacation with them. Gunner hunted for - and found - at least a dozen lizards, Colt fell back on the hot tub rock wall and got a goose egg the size of Mars on his head and both Rob and I would have our first cocktail before noon. It was glorious, I tell you.

We watched the fireworks on the beach for New Years Eve, and the next day we changed locations right down the road to a condo with an amazing pool overlooking the ocean. We saw dozens and dozens of turtles, many whales and dolphins every day from the patio. I heard the waves crash every night from our bed and thought, this must surely be what heaven is like. 

This was our longest Hawaii stay yet, twelve days, which would have been too long anywhere else, but I have always asserted that there is never too long a time in paradise. And each time we had come home from Hawaii, I always had what I call "vacation guilt," which was the feeling that we didn't do enough or make the most of our time when we were there (which is silly, because just being there is enough), yet this time I came home satisfied and beyond happy with our stay. I felt like it was exactly what we needed and although the depression set in as we got off the plane at home and got smacked with 4 degree winter weather, my heart still swells ten times it's normal size when I think about that beautiful place. 

Until next time, Kauai.