Sunday, August 2, 2009

Trip of a Lifetime

In the summer of 1998 my sons were out of school and my daughter had just one more year of high school left. I thought (incorrectly) that it would be our last chance for a family vacation. My elder son, PJ, was unable to come and my younger son, B, would only be able to join us for one week. My mother and sister also wanted to go but Mom thought two weeks would be too much for her so she would wait and come with B. Also in our entourage was my daughter's high school boyfriend. Our destination? Hawaii!

This vacation was my favorite for several reasons. Hawaii was always someplace I wanted to see and never thought I would. Traveling with my children as young adults was both trying and yet fun. Being able to have my mother and sister, who had never traveled much was special.

The first week there were five of us and we stayed in two bedroom condos on the Big Island and Kauai. When Mom and B joined us the second week we rented a five bedroom house on the north side of Oahu.

I have a 400 page photo album of that trip with little notes written on each page. Eleven years later I still enjoy passing an afternoon flipping through the pages. I know you don't have time to sit and look over the entire album with me so I'll share just a few of the highlights of the trip.

We did a lot of hiking. Here we saw petroglyphs.

South Point. The rental car company had warned us not to travel here. We went anyway and stopped before the road dropped into the ocean. We saw windmills for the first time.

Every beach was different and offered new discoveries.

We raced with dolphins and learned to snorkel/snuba at Cook's Monument.

Volcanoes National Park. We hiked, were amazed and hiked some more. The park is just amazing.

We swam with giant turtles. The boyfriend decided to follow this one out from the beach and I swam after them to make sure he was safe. He was back to the beach long before me. I float like a cork but I'm not a strong swimmer.

Kauai was so different from the Big Island! Green and lush. Lots more hiking here.

The kids went kayaking for the first time. I would have spent the time they were off on their own worrying about them except .......

I was busy being terrified on my first, last and only helicopter ride.

Our rental home. The week there was fun and relaxing.

This was Mom's first time ever seeing the Pacific Ocean. A swim seemed in order. Mom's health was starting to decline at this point so this will forever be one of my all time favorite pictures.

Mom is a WWII Navy Veteran and being able to take her to Pearl Harbor was an honor. There is a picture that was taken there of her, my sister and I that I love but for the life of me I can't find my copy of it.

Mom was mostly content to sit on the deck while we were off doing other things. The deck was a favorite place for us all to gather and much laughter was shared here.

There was one other lifelong dream that Mom was able to fulfill. She and the kids all had their own helicopter rides. John and I were quite content to sit and await their return.

There many, many other things that we packed into those two weeks. Memories that I will forever cherish. When I told John that I'd be writing about our best vacation ever he immediately said, "Hawaii!" It turns out that this was not the trip he was thinking of. We returned a few years later but that's another story.


Amy Coffin said...

What wonderful memories! I'm pretty sure I went on that same helicopter tour. The sign looks really familiar...

BDM said...

Thanks for sharing a lovely time. I enjoyed all of it!