Back in the Saddle, Lost the Reins
I tried writing this right after we got back from Hawaii one month ago, but life has been quicksilver slick since then. Here's the draft version.
Our trip to Hawaii was great. But, as I've been telling my friends, I wouldn't classify it as a vacation. There were spurts of vacation time here and there, but mostly there was too much coordination (my parents, Seymour's, Leelo's therapy) and almost zero time for lollygagging. I wrestled away exactly one hour to myself doing something other than showering or sleeping (an hour with which I chose to suck down mai tais at a poolside bar while muttering over the latest copy of Brainy, Chi1d). So, while it was great fun and I think the kids will recall it with sparkly eyes, it was a trip--not a vacation--for their parents.
There are even two versions of the trip.
There is the Happy! version, in which Seymour and I got to have two excellent dinners out by ourselves, I drank mai tais every night (you guess whether or not they were spaced so as to spare Mali a hangover), we took Iz soaring over lava-burping volcanoes in a helicopter, Mali learned to eat salt-and-pepper sand, Leelo taught himself to swim, Iz kissed a dolphin and fed an eagle ray, the sunrises were almost as glorious as the ice cream and the malassadas, and I floated over schools of funky iridescent fish and forgot which way to turn to find the sky.
Also in that version I got to eat lots of spam and rice and eggs, and discovered that the ridgeline of the Koha1a peninsula is where H. Miyazaki gets all the glorious blue sky, white fluffy clouds, and gently waving green grass backgrounds for all of his movies.
In that version, the rental car people took one look at the kid-and-luggage packed-full minivan we were returning, and offered to drive us straight to the airport so we wouldn't have to deal with an extra loading-and-unloading. The park rangers were slightly bored, and friendly, and had time for a nice long chat about the meaning of my tattoo, and the Hawaiian trend towards tattoos that speak of family histories.
The other version is less chirpy. In this one we discovered only after we'd already boarded the five-hour outbound flight that Unyted had stopped serving in-flight meals, even though they asked us about our dietary preferences during check in. If we'd not had cash on hand, then Iz and Seymour would have had to go begging for food.
In the chirp-free trip, it took us a good half-hour to get onto the teeny rental car shuttle with all our kids and strollers and luggage and gear. Everyone else in line got that glazed, brain stem-generated, traveler's FUCK YOU, IT'S ALL ABOUT ME look, and refused to give eye contact while jumping in front of us--or acknowledge that we were in no way giving up our places in line just because it took us a longer time than them to mobilize. You would think that, in Hawaii, where people can live off the land and sleep on the beach, people could rein in their survival instincts.
In that one I realize that there is no such thing as relaxing while traveling with Leelo. Both plane trips were marathons, more so for Seymour as he did most of the Leelo-tending. Until Mali acquires more common sense than mobility, which probably won't happen for at least three more years, we're sort of fucked. Iz even more so, as the one-on-one ratio required for minding both Leelo and Mali effectively excludes her. Poor bit.
Also Leelo never adjusted to the time change. Which meant that either Seymour or I was up at 5ish-6ish. Though this did mean we got to see glorious Hawaiian sunrises.
In conclusion: there is nothing bad about traveling to Hawaii. It's fucking Hawaii! However traveling with three kids, especially when the middle one is an autistic bundle of energy with no common sense, is trying. I suspect we'll wait a year before doing anything like that again.
*Although in this version, the dick who stepped in front of me in the rental car line--while I was hip-loading an infant and trying to cheer a wilting Iz--with his "well, are YOU a Gold Club member?" declaration was certainly then not told by me that the Gold Club fuckers who were paying attention merely had to walk over to the board with their names and waiting keys. Nope. He got to listen to my kids scream in the broiling, packed, air-con-free office for a good thirty minutes before he figured the Gold Club scheme out on his own.