Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We are in Hawaii. It is beautiful and breathtaking. The water is azure and calm. You can swim out to the coral reef right off of the beach and look at the butterfly fish. We are vacationing in paradise.

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.


Chez said...

Sounds perfect Jeannie. Enjoy!
Your children are adorable.

Liliana said...

I read your posting on the living Beyond Breast Cancer blog. It is very moving.

Then, I came to your blog. You are a beautiful writer. I wish you and your family all the best in the world.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. I also started writing as a result.

Best to you,


CoffeeJitters.Net (Judy Haley) said...

lovely. I'm 3 doses in to 12 rounds of chemo and also up all night writing about it. The effect my cancer might have on my daughter consumes me, as does my need to reinvent myself as I go through this process. You found such a perfect venue for a little relaxation and self reflection. Best wishes.


Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Hi Chez,
Thanks so much. We had a great vacation. I am still relaxed, believe it or not. Hope you are well.

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

I am glad you enjoyed my post. I am so happy to be able to express myself in words.

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Good luck to you in the months ahead. Your writing will help you through it. The effects on children are lasting but I think the younger they are the better. We are still reeling from the whole experience in our household and it has been almost three years. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

Lauren said...

Sounds like an incredible trip. If only more conferences were held in Hawaii. Best of luck with any changes to come- may they bring you peace.

-Lauren (www.breastcancerregistry.org)