This is me. Five years ago. I had the best haircut of my life. My favorite jewelry had not been stolen yet. I was in excellent shape. I lived in England. I was learning French. (That last one is a lie. I had no intention of speaking French for the duration of my 4-day trip to France.) Look how cosmopolitan I seem! So urbane! Such a citizen of the world. And seriously, the haircut. Sigh. I will never be that girl again.
I’ve been extremely lucky, blessed, (lucky was not stepping bare-foot on that Optimus Prime today) to have lived in glamorous places, made wonderful friends, have two beautiful healthy kids, have a great husband, blah, blah, blah. Sorry. There really isn’t anything to “blah” about. I am grateful. I am very grateful.
I’m also unspeakably ungrateful. We’ve just moved to Honolulu.
I know. Everyone says that. I’m the only person alive who has never had any desire to visit Hawaii, let alone live here. It’s all been very inconvenient.
Sam got home from a nine month deployment, we started packing up our house a month later, had most of my best jewelry stolen by one set of movers, cooled our heels in the empty house for 3 weeks, said goodbye to family and friends again, flew down here, and have been staying in this hotel for one month– with one month left to go– while waiting for a house to open up. The hotel could be worse; it could also be a LOT better. I’m trying to stay positive and grateful. It has two rooms and a bathroom. It does not have a kitchen. It DOES have a micro fridge. The microwave smells like armpits. The bathroom has a bath tub for bathing kids– not always the case in our experience–that’s a win… The microwave smells like armpits!
POSITIVE. It is beautiful here. The clouds are huge and solid and look like they’ve been extracted from an oil painting and magnified. (Behold! My Cloud-Magnification-ator!) The sky and water are so blue they look fake. Flowers grow on the side of the highway, just because they can. Exotic flowers. No dandelion variety shows. Beautiful bright green mountains. The colors! They’re everywhere! We arrived here from El Paso, Texas. Colors? Not so much. This is a welcomed change of scene. Alive nature. There’s really nothing like it. Everywhere I look outside, there is beauty. It’s enough to make me forget–sometimes for quite some time–just how screwed I am.
NEGATIVE. It’s expensive here. We’re going to dedicate our nonexistent third child to indentured servitude in order to pay for Malcolm’s private school. Bella? Sorry, baby. You’ll just have to marry well, cuz we probably won’t be able to afford your education. I went to the local Safeway, foolishly thinking it would be cheaper than Target for food. That was not the case. We had to buy a second car as well. I actually think we did ok on that one. It is used– but, it’s been on AN ISLAND all its life… how many miles could it go? So that was a victory. And, we have the Commissary for food, which will “be worth the trip.”
STILL NEGATIVE: We’re on an island. Granted, it IS larger than I was anticipating. But still. Surrounded by water. Far, far away from the mainland where all my family resides. Again. I was more willing to go with it when it was Europe that claimed us. I guess if I didn’t like my family so much this wouldn’t be a big deal. We can always visit each other, I suppose…
OK, Nonexistent Third Child–put your back into it!
We will not be leaving this island until we are leaving permanently. So, we won’t be going back. For a good long while. Which means a lot will be missed. A lot is already being missed. Reunions, weddings, funerals, birthdays, I could go on but then I’ll start getting really depressed.
There is a reason the Hawaii license plate has a rainbow on it; I’ve seen at least nine. Rainbows, not license plates. (Good grief, the traffic…NO! BACK TO THE RAINBOWS!) Big, full, arcing, vibrant rainbows. You can’t miss them. They are obvious. They are purposeful rainbows. And they do their job well. They make me remember.
Last week I took the kids to church–our first visit to this particular place. It was such a horror show that all the way home (crying) I told God I could never show my face there again. I can never go back there, God. Was it you blowing the kazoo in the middle of the sermon? No. Were you the one defacing the hymnal during that nice man’s testimony? Well, no. Was it you screaming at the top of your lungs as you were stealthily disciplined beneath the pew? You’ve made your point. And did you split yourself into two people to create the unholy cacophony of shrieks that ended in a parade of tears as you marched what seemed like four miles across the courtyard during their lovely 100th birthday celebration to the car? I was LEADING the parade, yes, but I wasn’t the one screaming. (Outloud.) Is it going to be the ONLY time they ever freak out and embarrass you? I’m assuming the correct answer is no. So, they’re just kids. Nobody died. And I’m doing the best I can.
I can’t go back in time. I can’t go back home. But I can go back to that church with no pretenses of having everything under control. And that could be a good reminder.