My husband is attending a conference and I invited myself and my two children along. As I sit and watch the gentle waves on the beach I start to think about the few times that I have been to Hawaii in my life. Each time I have visited this state, it is right before my life takes a major turn.
The first time I was here I was just seven years old and we were moving back to Chicago from Australia. We spent two and a half years living in Perth and Melbourne. I loved our life abroad and did not want to return to the states. I even had an Australian accent. I remember the long flight from Sydney to Honolulu and my sadness as we left our home behind.
Even so, I quickly adjusted to the change as I marveled at the clear water and palm trees on the way to the hotel. After we settled in, I swam on Waikiki beach with my sister and brother. I was seven years old. Now, I am here with my seven year old daughter swimming on Waikiki beach and marveling at the natural beauty all over again.
The next time I came to Hawaii I was twenty eight. My boyfriend had a conference at the same hotel we are staying in this visit and I tagged along (you can see where this is going). I was in love. Not just with this island paradise but with my boyfriend too. I thought for sure that he would ask me to marry him as the sun set in the background on a beach in Kauai. Instead, I got a t-shirt from the local store in Hanalei. My hopes of telling everyone at Christmas dinner I was engaged were dashed. Three months later; however, I would get the ring I was waiting for from the man of my dreams and a new chapter in my life would begin again.
I am enjoying this trip immensely and wondering if there is a change in store for me when I return home. I already feel different. I want more independence from my children and I want more for myself. Maybe I am growing up a bit just as they are. I want to be more than just a “mom.” I want more of my old self; the person who has an identity outside of my family. I suddenly remember who she is.
Maybe it took coming all the way back to this island in the Pacific to remember all of the things that I wanted from my life. Now hopefully, I can continue to pursue my dreams and be more of the person I used to be.