And So It Ebbs and Flows (7/16/14)

Paradise found and lost

I dread airplanes and flying. But the lure of 10 secluded summer days spent with my boys sent me rushing down the jetway battling for an overhead bin.

I couldn’t wait to suspend time and forget with each passing day they drift further into their own lives, while I struggle to stay afloat in the sea of change.

Arriving in our island destination, I told my husband my plan to reclaim our boys from the swells sweeping them away as he announced his plan to whisk them away on an adventurous hike.

I wasn’t surprised, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean it always happens, he changes. I’m usually asleep so I don’t witness the transformation, but flying 2,600 miles over the ocean he acquires superpowers. When I awake I expect to see the “S” emblazoned on his chest.

Maybe it’s the air pumped into the plane’s cabin, but something causes him to think he’s suddenly Superman and ready to leap tall buildings or cascading cliffs.

Fearing a Griswold-like escapade, I reminded him of our visits to island clinics and crutches. He assured me he’d planned a safe excursion and provided proof of his hours spent researching the trek—on Yelp and Wikipedia.

I countered with Internet articles documenting deaths from falls and drowning along the same stretch of rugged coastline. But, since these facts weren’t reported on Wikipedia, he claimed my sources lacked credibility.

Firm in his conviction, my husband, whose only exercise consists of our dog walking him in circles around our neighborhood, declared with or without me, they’d embark on the 8-mile hike to a majestic waterfall.

Since my idea of braving the outdoors is sleeping with our bedroom windows open, I opted out of the hike, foregoing the magnificence of the 300-foot waterfall for the beckoning beauty of a renovated resort nearby.

I dropped them off at the trailhead at 8:30 a.m. and promised to be back at 1:30 p.m. My husband assured me the hike takes five hours roundtrip, according to Yelp.

I arrived back at our appointed time and waited. At 3 p.m., minutes from hiring a helicopter to search for their limp bodies, I spotted young hikers descending near the trailhead. I asked if they’d seen my superhero and sons. They reported seeing all three at the falls but added I’d be lucky to see them by 5 p.m. since “the older guy was really struggling.”

Thankfully, all three arrived back earlier than predicted. They appeared bruised, muddied and tired, but entirely intact—except for my husband’s ego.

Their adventure over and my husband hardly able to walk, he popped Advil like Tic-Tacs and shuffled to the pool.

With our family forced to slow to an island pace, I initiated my vacation plan: relaxing days basking beachside and savoring meals served island-style.

It’s seldom the four of us come together for meals anymore, and when we do it’s even rarer that grades, goals and graduations aren’t mentioned.

This vacation, our conversations shifted and our young adults started spearheading our chats and sharing their perspectives and experiences.

I don’t want to know everything they do, but it’s fun catching glimpses into their worlds and hearing their thoughts instead of reading cryptic messages or viewing fleeting photos via text.

We shared lots of laughs, ribbings for minor mishaps or jokes that are funny only to us—and, therefore, not immediately relayed via Snapchat but instead kept as our cherished memories.

As much as I fear the flight over, the flight home is even worse but for a much different reason.

It starts in the airport waiting to board our flight home. “Mom, I just got a text, thinking of having a few people over for a BBQ tomorrow, OK?” And, “I’m going to the beach with my friends all day tomorrow, OK?”

The change happens that fast and the rip current pulls them back into their own lives, initiating the tide’s ebb and flow until next summer when they drift back to me.

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