Sunday, March 6, 2011


We returned from Hawaii exactly a week ago tonight, and yes, it's taken me this long to post! The trip was in honor of Paul's parents' 70th birthdays and so we were there with them, Paul's two sisters and our niece -- and had such a wonderful time.

We stayed in condos overlooking a cove just around the corner from Napili Bay and enjoyed this amazing view from our balcony.  I loved falling asleep listening to the waves knocking against the rocks, and, a whole week later, I still miss the sounds of the water and breezes at all times of the day.

We went to a luau with the men and kids wearing these matching shirts and dresses.  (Notice that I'm hidden in the back in my boring brown dress). We all felt a little silly but it was fun.  Abe enthusiastically responded to the call for volunteers to learn the hula dance up on the stage, Ruby took dozens of pictures of the dancers, and Oscar was wide-eyed and keeping the beat with the drummers all evening long. 

We realized (thanks to facebook) that old college friends were staying just up the road from us and so we enjoyed an hour reminiscing over a glass of wine at sunset on a gorgeous point separating Napili from Kapalua.

We have at least five pictures of Oscar wearing this hat -- is it Paul's or Grandpa's? I'm not sure, but I think it looks best on Oscar.

Oscar wasn't so excited about getting into the ocean (except for snorkeling) but he swam laps in the pool, and then cozied up in towels on the pavement afterward.

We tried surfing, and I thought I'd be really good, but I really really wasn't. Abe did well, and so did Paul's sister and my niece, and Paul too actually. Really, everyone but me seemed to get it.

We snorkeled nearly every day, exploring most of our favorite spots from years past.  We swam with the turtles in the cove, and drank wine on the "grassy knoll" overlooking the cove at sunset.  We boogie boarded (even backwards)...
gazed out at the cove and drew pictures...
...and built sand castles.  Oscar started and finished a castle all by himself one day with no help or suggestions from anyone.  (Sometimes I don't realize how much help, or rather how consistent his need for help is, until he does something completely independently.)
Can you see it? He's pretty proud.

And Paul, Abe, and I read most of the Suzanne Collins Gregor the Overlander series. I'd brought lots of books about writing, a memoir or two, and one novel, but I didn't read any of those. Instead I got completely sucked into this five volume series and only finished last night.  I loved diving into a wildly different world, and then discussing plot and character development with Abe.  He says, by the way, that the Hunger Games trilogy is better, so that's what I'll read next.

I found, though, that despite the glorious setting and fun adventures, that I couldn't escape my anxiety in Hawaii. The breathtaking views, warm trade winds, crashing waves and the sugary sand were all incredibly soothing to me during the day but I really struggled at night. I woke in the wee hours and could feel the panic start to fill my head. I practiced my breathing and focused on comforting images but the stomach pains and racing thoughts persisted.  (Our mediation with the school district is on Wednesday and I can only assume that thoughts of that meeting were invading my calm.) 

On our last afternoon, I sat on Napili beach and concentrated on the contented calm that filled me in that moment as I breathed in the swaying palms, shimmering water and billowy clouds.  I promised to start making some changes to help reduce my anxiety and feel more fulfilled no matter how busy and stressful our days are sometimes.  I need a daily practice.  I don't know yet what that looks like, but this photo brings me hope that I can figure that out. 


  1. So beautiful! And your kids look adorable. What a drag that anxiety tracked you all the way to Hawaii (there should be a law against that!)

  2. So lovely and beautiful!

    I have many members in my family who suffer from anxiety, its effects can be crippling. My grand father's anxiety became so severe, he could not leave his house or even work. The good news is, it is treatable, and nothing you are doing wrong!

    Please do not continue to suffer, I encourage you to speak with your doctor. When my young son started to show symptoms, trust me I did not want to consider medication ever! But now I can honestly say, it has saved his life.

    Sending you much peace Mary!

  3. Oh Mary, it looks so lovely. I'm glad everyone had a wonderful time, but I'm sorry you're filled with such anxiety. Breathing is good, always. Long walks? Wine? Writing with the people who care about you so much?

    Sending you a huge hug! Oh how I wish we lived near each other!

  4. Thanks all - I really appreciate all the support and ideas. The anxiety has subsided somewhat, and the good news is that this most recent bout has motivated me to finally look into meditation (which is only one "t" off from "mediation"- I that find pretty ironic!)