During my freshman year of high school (2005), I experienced a life altering divorce between my mother and my step father of eight years. It was devastating, and to me, seemed really out of the blue. Especially since we had a trip to Hawaii planned in June, which I had been looking forward to all year. It felt like the world as I knew it was falling to pieces.
My mother, who is my role model and a very strong woman, decided that we were still going to take our trip to Hawaii, without my step-dad, because life wasn’t going to stop, and our trip shouldn’t either. It would be our first trip as an “incomplete” family, which made it hard to face. However the promise of warm weather and beautiful beaches was very comforting. We convinced my 79 year old grandmother who had never been to Hawaii to go with us in his place.
For awhile, it seemed like the Hawaii trip was all I had to look forward to, and the night before we left I could not sleep. When we landed on Kauai and arrived at the Marriott on the beach, I was in Heaven. It was just as I imagined it. Immediately I changed into my swim suit and splashed into the water. I was shocked to find that the ocean water was warm, because growing up in Washington; I assumed all oceans were cold. The virgin pina colada I sipped on was like nothing I had ever tasted.
Our hotel room was beautiful, with a deck facing the beach. We had our own kitchen, and even separate bedrooms, one for my mom and grandma (who can snore louder than anyone I have ever met), and one for me and my brother. Unfortunately even the separate rooms with shut doors could not stifle the sound of my grandma snoring.
The ten day trip continued with many fun activities; swimming, tanning, sailing, snorkeling, zip-lining, floating in inner tubes down a river, eating delicious fruit, shopping, and most importantly relaxing. Even my grandmother was having a wonderful time. My mom was laughing again. My brother and I started acting like kids again, after several long months of acting like adults.
Hawaii meant so much to me, more than my mom will ever know. It taught me that life goes on, even when your world falls apart, and that our family would be okay, even though it was missing an important member. Although it emphasized the finality of my step-dads decision, we all came back refreshed and ready to start building our life again. Hawaii showed me that my grandma was someone I could rely on, because she always knew the right thing to say. It taught me to appreciate the simple things in life, like the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, fresh mango, the feel of the sand beneath my feet, and the beautiful blue water. I will never forget the trip to Kauai, and the impact it had on my family.
Looking back, I feel like I was able to release my worries and fears in the ocean, and the peace and understanding I was able to acquire stuck with me like the sand stuck in the bottom of my suitcase. I have a photo album full of memories to prove it.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.