I still remember the heavy feeling that surrounded me as our last full day came to an end. We didn’t want to leave…none of us. I wanted to freeze time, hold it prisoner in a bottle and bury deep in the sand. I wanted to stay on that stretch of beach forever—to breathe in the salty sea air, bask in the sunlight, and drink in every ounce of goodness that this island has to offer.
We stayed on the beach until the sun began to set and our shadows grew longer. Oh how I wished this trip, this adventure, and this continuous high didn’t have to come to an end. Rudely, I’ve been reminded of the saying “nothing lasts forever”. Clearly that isn’t completely true—yes, the geography changes, but the feelings, the experiences, the memories….well, they’ll last forever.
This is a picture of pure happiness.
We swam until our fingers and toes turned to prunes, then we swam a bit more. We wanted to draw out every minute of the day and pack it full of fun times.
Mission accomplished. So many great moments were captured that evening-- moments that I want to harvest and save for days when I want to relive our experience.
Swimming at sunset was fantastic. I wish we did it more often. Seeing the sun deep, turning blue skies into shades of pink, and the water mirroring the sky, altering from turquoise to a deep shade of purple. So beautiful and tranquil.
We awoke early on the morning of our departure. We all dreaded this day, but we made the most of it. Since our flight was a red-eye, we loaded up the car with beach chairs, towels, and sand buckets and dashed down to Waikiki for one last beach day.
Bubbles on the beach? Who can argue with that?
My mom and I sat wedged in our chairs, drinking Starbucks coffee and eating fresh fruit with our toes in the sand, while the kids played in the early morning light. It was so relaxing-- a perfect way to spend our final hours.
So much of Oahu now lives within us. We’ve stashed Hawaii's way of life, their happiness, their gentle dispositions, and their charisma into pockets of our hearts. I’m eternally grateful for this amazing experience—it was beyond healing; it was life changing, and exactly what we needed to get through this deployment. As silly as it may sound, I left having fresh eyes, a brighter outlook, and a greater sense of self-worth. My children left having more confidence, cherished moments with their Mimi, and numerous happy-go-lucky island memories.