Here’s the Thing: Growing closer while far away

Aloha!

Coming back from vacation is like snapping out of a dream. Ever since we landed back in Alaska, my tan lines have been hidden under multiple layers of clothing. If you try to find any visible tan lines on me, you will lose. When the socks come off at home I can’t make out what’s wrong with the tops of my feet. Oh yeah, tan lines.

Even if I go fake and bake in town, which I actually might, there is something organic in knowing the memories of how they were made.

Maybe it’s because I’m in my 30s now or maybe it’s because my mom jeans (OK, leggings) are too tight, but transitioning back to “real life” wasn’t so bad. They didn’t have to drag me onto the plane to go back home. I didn’t claw the airport terminal walls. Like a happy robot I was replying to texts, making lists and notes, always thinking ahead to our next point like a dot-to-dot page. There are a few factors why I kept it together, but I think it was easier to come home since we stayed for a good period of time.

We’ve never had a long vacation or a vacation with kids. Always a fast week at the very most. My hubbo and I talked it through, after we bought the tickets. That seems useless, because at that point it’s like Que Sera Sera. I wanted to go for a week. He said two. The price was right, so we ended up on Oahu for a little over two weeks. Everyone has different ideas of what’s perfect or not, but this worked for us.

The first week is work. We’re training our skin to become friends with the sun and our bodies to welcome the warmth. It takes at least three days minimum for us to loosen up from being busy bodies. Plus, I’m a little complicated so I have to make sure my “routine” is right. (Ladies that worry too much will understand this.) My lovely son gave me his cold, yay! So I had a runny nose on the six-hour flight over. If we were in Hawaii for only a week, heads would roll. Essentially I could spare a day or two, so chilling out in the condo was perfectly fine.

By the second week, everyone feels like a local. We know where to go, how to get there, and feeling familiar helps us relax even more. We had bonding time when visiting my former college friend and her family that lived nearby. I had quality time over fish tacos with a good friend that was there spending time with family. We had time for adventure to explore the island at our pace. It was nice not to rush. That’s new for me on any day of the week.

By the second week we knew what our days commonly looked like. Dad needs to work or it’s raining? We swim in the nearby pool. Mommy is in a bad mood? Swing by the beach resort so she can get a pina colada. We’re in the mood for goodies? Go to Ted’s Bakery for chocolate haupia pie or Matsumoto’s for a shave ice with condensed milk on top.

That last week of staying there our in-laws joined us on the North Shore. How “honest” should I be right now? Ha! They are sneaky. I will tell you why, because even though I was happy to have them there with us, by the time we left I said to myself, there is no way I could live life without these people. They are separate souls, but we share the same heart beat. I think that describes the word family.

That’s the thing about being adopted, you know how real the love is when you find a person make the choice that they’ll always have a place with you. Sure, there were undertones of “in-law-ism’s” every now and then, but the memories my kids got to make with them were priceless.

Here’s the thing: The vacation starts with stress, and ends with blessed. I was a one-man show getting everything together and making sure everything ran smoothly. Within days of being there I realized how incredible it was to enjoy our first family vacation! We had adventures, tried new things, and grew closer as a family. We recognized our daughter was blossoming into a young lady. We noticed our son’s ambition for learning. The trip wasn’t about my husband and I, but we fully enjoyed this new, little journey together.

This vacation wasn’t about running away, it was about enhancing our experiences as a family. We were testing the waters of what we look like out of our element. We just chose warm, tropical Hawaiian water.

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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