I want to be in Hawaii right now. But who doesn’t, right?
That’s where Damon, Elisabeth and I spent a wonderful but far-too-short week last month for our Christmas vacation.
Growing up in Southern California, I always longed for a White Christmas. Snow was such a novelty! When I was young, we spent several holidays visiting my grandparents in Ohio. We built snowmen! We made snow angels! We caught pneumonia! Man I loved those Christmases.
Eventually we transitioned to exclusively California Christmases. No more snowmen. No more snow angels. Our California Christmas tradition? A walk on the beach.
A walk on the beach!?! That’s, like, the ANTI-Christmas! Despite our protestations, my parents dragged my brothers and me to the blasted beach year after year after year. We (the brothers and I, not the parents) would grudgingly trudge through the sand complaining about the horrible burden placed upon us by living 10 minutes from the ocean.
I still love the idea of a white Christmas, though having now experienced several unpleasant winters as an adult (think: Snowpocalypse 2010), I am slightly less attached to the white, fluffy stuff. And after a somewhat eventful last year (a new baby, travel that included 3 continents, 4 countries and countless states and cities, a Permanent Change of Station to Japan, a deployment, etc., etc.), nothing sounded better than a relaxing week by the beach.
Even the monstrously long travel day (yes, day – over 24 hours thanks to delays) it took to get to Kauai didn’t damper my spirits. Because I wasn’t traveling with the baby alone! As soon as we had settled into our (inexcusably small for an international flight) seats on the airplane, Damon whipped out his iPad and headphones.
“Excuse me, what are you doing?” I asked.
“I am going to watch a movie,” he responded.
“No, you’re not,” I replied and promptly plopped Elisabeth into his lap.
That was the start of my responsibility-free week. Well, not totally responsibility-free. I still had to feed the kid and stuff, but it was the closest I’ve come to responsibility-free in a long time.
We joined my parents and two younger brothers in Kauai. They were all over that baby, immediately. I think I changed about four diapers the entire week. Damon and I slept it while the grandparents took the early AM shifts. I read magazines while the uncles entertained her during our down time. One day I even went to the pool by myself. It. Was. Glorious.
Of course, a family vacation is never without its misadventures. Being that we were traveling to Hawaii, I packed exclusively warm clothes. That was all fine and dandy until our clan embarked on a family hike. When we reached our destination, it turned out to be a tad chilly. And wet. I viewed other children dressed in pants and sweatshirts and realized that Elisabeth (and the rest of us, for that matter) was wildly unprepared for this weather. We pulled out a towel from the trunk and wrapped it around the Bjorn as a makeshift blanket.
Improvisation: the key to any successful parent.
Regardless of our genius baby-warming device, it did not defend against rain. My mom had noticed a sign that said, “Wettest Place on Earth.” It started to sprinkle.
“This is the wettest place on Earth!” my mom cried. “If we don’t get out of here, WE’RE ALL DEAD!” She was serious. She then made a mad dash to the car. It was quite possibly my favorite memory from the trip.
My mom is not the only crazy parent, though. My dad was extremely uncomfortable taking Elisabeth on a sunset cruise around Poipu, fearing she would get eaten by a whale. Thankfully, she escaped this Jonah-like fate. It was close, though. You know how those whales love to eat babies.
Then my brother Will went all Michael Jackson on us and dangled Elisabeth over a very high ledge overlooking a very deep valley. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish. Perhaps he was imitating the scene from The Lion King where the wise old monkey holds up baby Simba for all the land to see. What Will forgot is that he is not an old, wise (animated) monkey, and that (live, breathing) mothers have heart attacks when they see their child about to plummet down a mountain.
But really, the trip was awesome. I’ll share more with you later, but for now, this post is getting a little long and I’m getting a little tired.
So for now, Aloha!