Believe it or not, my DD1 starts school next week. Next week!! Where did this summer go?
In light of that, our little family took an impromptu and very last getaway to the Big Island. To introduce the girls to lava for the first time--#walkingonlava to be exact.
It was a quick and whirlwind arrival, just as the sun was setting.
The landscape on the leeward side is all lava rock, cracked and dried over thousands of years, black and glistening still in its solid shapes—forcing all to walk with care so as to not cut your feet. It’s like driving on another planet, a landscape unfamiliar and almost friendlier to spaceships than to life. But life grows. And happens. More on the volcanoes that make up the Big Island, here.
One day we spent exploring our area, a vacation development built upon and seemingly within the lava all around us, swimming in pools, finding a beach off the beaten path with body surfing friendly waves and my DD2 swears she saw a sea turtle.
The next day we visited Volcano National Park—and while there was no active lava flow here, there were breathtaking views of the rainforest at the rim of the crater, steam escaping from Halemaumau crater, hiking through a giant lava tube.
And at the end of the Chain of Craters Road, it was like we had driven to the end of the earth.
The girls loved running around from here to there along the lava paths, hiking through the rainforest, looking at the tracks that the lava left behind as it made its way to the sea.
They loved waking up in a different place on ‘vacation,’ and swimming in the pools (we were lucky to have coordinated our trip with some very good friends) and when A had to return the day before we did for work, the girls cried alligator tears at his departure—a shock to me, their intense bond, since we were coming home the next day. And while three nights away, with the last, luxurious day resulting in us sleeping in until--GASP—8:00!—it was still a wonderful taste of something different, something special, and a little magical, our first walk with Pele as a new family.
Our return to our regular life was as seamless as our departure. G is wearing the cone of shame from her spay surgery, only two more days to go (we hope!) and is healing fine. DD2 will start kindergarten at a small, lovely private school, which begins next month (important update—in the ninth hour the day before our trial—Exie settled!! Agreeing to private school, modified CS, and extracurriculars—so the big dramatic items seem to have been resolved).
Play dates with our friends as we prepare DD1 to go back to school—having to label each and every crayon and marker.
Hugs and kisses and laughter and settling of arguments among the girls as they fickle over this toy or that stuffed animal or this game.
It all seems quite normal, no, more than normal--a beautiful trip and now we're home again.
I’m not used to this as normal.
Is this normal? Are we allowed to be okay? I think so. The old me is waiting for the other shoe to drop and everything to burn up--kind of like lava. The continually working and therapized me is hoping that--while conflicts do arise with hubby and myself over the best way forward in dealing with Exie--that this is one of those two steps forward, as we baby step our way to a new future, a new normal.