Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hawaii, Part II

The Good

Here I must start with my little brother. My parents have taken us on family trips like this twice before in the last 5 years or so. First we went to St. Croix in 2000, then we went to Jackson Hole in 2003. It's a great way for us all to reconnect since we are living in different areas of the country. (Except my sister and her family: they live less than a mile from my parents.) But ever since the first trip there has been a kind of family joke that Chip is the 5th wheel, since he has always been single. Usually these trips are planned way in advance, so for months before I'd be teasing him, saying things like "Chip, it's 9 months away, surely in that amount of time you can find a girl willing to be taken to St. Croix!" He's always a good sport about it, but I do think it bothered him a little, to always be the 7th at the dinner table.

Happily, this year, he brought Leigh. They have been "dating" for about 6 months or so, and it does not appear to be serious yet, but I think they care about each other. I mean, it's a big leap to invite someone 5000 miles away to spend a week with your family; and it's a big leap to accept the invitation. It's fun to see Chip in a relationship, and best of all, Leigh is fantastic. She is smart and funny and respectful and talkative (this is important, as Chip is often more the type to hang back and observe). We really enjoyed her. At the beginning of the week it seemed a little awkward between them, but once they both got used to us all and the fact of being on vacation together, they really seemed to open up and enjoy themselves.

Here's a photo, if I start feeling guilty in a few days I'll take it down:

Next, my sister and her husband. Ann and Ed are the kindest people you'll ever meet. My sister is a bleeding heart liberal, mostly because she has so much compassion for every person on the planet. They are always thrilled to see us and our kids, and it's a wonderful feeling to feel so much love every time we meet. Not only that, but they have kids, so they understand how exhausting two small children can be, and they help out all the time. One morning they took Isaac and their kids to an aquarium so Lance and I could have some peace (Vivian was napping.) They were constantly offering to take Isaac to the beach, or watch Viv for us, helping us get dinner, and so on. It's been a real adjustment to come back to California and realize that once again, it's all up to me. Sigh.

Here's another photo--again, don't get too attached:

My parents. It is always so much fun to see Mom and Dad, and I think doubly fun for me since I see them so rarely. Their personality quirks which would drive me insane if I lived with them are merely endearing when we spend but a few weeks a year together. My mother and I have similar personalities and get along well for the most part. We're both easy-going and have no problem going with the flow. My dad is very controlling and almost fastidious, but he has a lighter side, too--and on vacation we get to see more of that lighter side. My dad can be slightly oblivious, too but for the most part on vacation that just means he is happy as can be, unaware of any undercurrent of tension among the rest of us. Like Ann and Ed, Mom is a huge help, and I miss that already.

Then there's my niece and nephew. They are at a very good age--able to take care of themselves pretty independently but not yet sullen and distrustful of adults. They are also at an age which is fascinated with all things sexual. So we had lots of squealing and screaming when they overheard Lance say "You look sexy, babe." Sawyer has figured out how to blow air into the lining of her swimsuits, filling them out and giving her fake "knockers", much to her brother's delight. "Ohmigod, that's so disgusting!" they would scream, as Lance kissed me on the mouth before cocktail hour. Once in the car, the two of them were insisting that girlfriends and boyfriends were the most disgusting things ever and when I told them that one day they would change their minds and bring home their own boyfriends or girlfriends, the screams that erupted shook the van. Literally. Seconds later they asked what names these boy and girlfriends would have and we all decided on "Big Bad Bob" and "Super Sexy Sally". This caused much more giggling and squealing as Sawyer informed me that if we took off the y, "sexy" would be a "really really bad word. The worst word in the world!" At some point during this discussion Isaac was hollering from his carseat: "I am so sexy, Sawyer! I am so sexy!" Later she told me, "Did you know that you have to have sex to have a baby? So I'm adopting!"

In addition to comic relief, these two also helped immeasurably with Isaac and Vivian. Isaac adored both of them and followed them around like a puppy from day one. "Sawyer? Sawyer?" he'd call out, looking around for her after a nap. They were very patient with him for the most part, and it was really fun to see them play together. Sawyer also loved playing with Vivian, helping me dress her and change her diaper, picking her up before she crawled into the ocean, and so on.
Once again, a photo:

I must break here again, but of course there is much more to tell. Bear with me, I hope to be through with the vacation stories in a few days!

Oh, and to clarify: Thing One and Thing Two, happily, were not along for this trip since they belong to my husband's side of the family.

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