I just returned from having taken my first grown-up vacation since maybe my honeymoon (and even that wasn't entirely grown-up since it was all paid for by our parents).
No, this was a real "look at me, ma, I'm an adult" holiday.
There were no kids on the trip. Not mine, not his. There wasn't a sibling, parent, in-law, cousin or even distant cousin in sight. There weren't any long lost family members to meet or friends to get together with or even a dinner party to attend.
Nope. It was simply my guy, me and paradise.
I told my boyfriend I had never been to Hawaii and so when my last day of work ended we started to pack our bags and leave for a five day escape to the island of Kauai.
There is so much about that above sentence that is truly miraculous. Work? Boyfriend? Hawaii? When did my life become so full of gifts?
There would have been a time I would have felt unworthy of such a thing as a trip to Hawaii with an incredible man. But I think I finally found enough love and kindness for myself to say (even if in a whisper) -- "Yes. Why not me?"
And off we went...
The hardest part, of course, was leaving my girl. I couldn't sleep the night before as my mind played out every plane crash scenario imaginable. And then, of course, that was followed with images of my now lonely, motherless, heartbroken child left devastated and abandoned. Slowly forgetting who her mother was and soon stealing cars and drinking beer.
All because her mom wanted to go on a stupid adult getaway with some dude.
But, I'm happy to say we made it there and back in one piece. So, let's move on.
Kauai was magical. Every blade of grass, sun-kissed flower, drop of water looked like a painting. Even the snails were stunning. Huge, shiny shells and long necks stretching out as far out as they could as if to say, "That's right, lady. We live the good, long life here on the island. No one accidentally steps on us in this place."
We did a lot of reading, a lot of sleeping, a lot of hanging in the sun, taking long walks, talking and romancing.
Ya know, grown-up stuff!
Nowhere to go, nowhere to be, no one to tend to, nothing to do. NOTHING TO DO. It was amazing.
And you start to think, "God, I wish I could live here. Just pick up and move. Open a little coffee shop. Get a little place. How amazing would that be? Hannah would love it here. Yeah... this is where I should be living."
The two of us started daydreaming about our Island life. Imagining how simple and easy it would be.
But, the truth is once you do pick up and move it's no longer a vacation. It's life. Real life. With real life responsibilities like rent, school, car payments, employment, dentist appointments.
That's the tricky thing about going away on a trip. The fantasy and desire of building a life in that relaxing place kicks in, but the reason the place is so relaxing is because you haven't built your life there. You've left your built life behind and this is just an escape from it.
So, we had five days of an escape. A beautiful, sexy, laid back, wonderful escape.
And, inevitably, the day came when it was time to pack the books and the bikini and all the gifts I got for my girl and return home. Back to life. My life.
And as I packed and took one last look at the magical view I got a text from my daughter,
"I love you, I miss you, I can't wait to kiss you."
No view can beat that. I knew that the life I must return to is an absolutely incredible one.
It is filled with children and responsibilities and family and in-laws and friends and work and pets and things to do.
Things to do.
So, in time I will have earned another vacation. Perhaps another grown-up holiday or maybe one that will include all our kids.
And I will feel the joy of that vacation -- that escape -- because of the ever so full life I've built... right here at home.