Aloha. I think.

Greetings from Kauai, my friends.

I remember now what a friend said once - that parents of young children don't go on "vacation." The kids go on vacation. The parents go on a trip.

I am so getting this right now.

We are in one of the world's most gorgeous places and though I've seen a bit of it, it's mostly through the haze of changing swim diapers, applying sunscreen repeatedly, trying to find Sippy cups, and attempting to regulate the amount of sand that enters our condo each day. We may have more inside at this point than outside.

The point is, it's an awful lot of work.

It's also fun. There are moments I know I will forget, or maybe not: sitting on a beach chair with Finn wrapped in a towel, resting quietly on me, still and breathing slowly, his hair still wet from the pool, little blond curls tickling my nose. Watching Reese first be afraid of the water slide at the resort and then today, flying down it, arms in the air, rollercoaster style, her smile electric. Best of all, conquering my own reluctance - my fear, of going down the slide myself, fear of making a fool of myself, fear of not being a good enough swimmer to not appear lame in front of my children - and just doing it. Going down with Reese, then Finn, then by myself, and then repeat. Saying no to them was not an option. How can I teach bravery if I myself am so cowardly? So I fake it. Sometimes it works out better than I expect.

I am amazed at how tired I get. At how much I long to be one of those people actually lounging on a lounge chair, daiquiri in one hand, great book in the other. I want to be on their vacation. I want to have a few hours of floating around these blue waters in my $107 bathing suit; a price for which I'm still surprised doesn't come with liposuction and a tanning booth.

Still, the other day when we were at Lyndgate Beach, a kiddie beach and my kids were pulling me to build sand castles and hold them and dance with them in the water, I met Devyn. A fourteen-year old girl who her grandmother has been bringing to this island all her life. Her grandma told me this might be Devyn's last trip. She's been such a teenager. She doesn't want to do anything with them. She won't get in a bathing suit. She's just sullen with a capital S.

I suppose my daquiri can wait.


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