Kauai is one of my favorite places on earth.
Sometimes Wendy and I play this game. It is called let's pretend that we are going to uproot everything and move somewhere crazy. Except we are not playing. We are convinced. We make the plans. We are going to do it. First thing when we get back.
So it is in Kauai. We are thoroughly enchanted with the place. My level of relaxation is gaged by how lost I get us. When I am at normal stress level, I am a solid navigator. When I am relaxed, I might wind up in Cincinnati on my way to the grocery store.
In Kauai, I cannot navigate us to a location five minutes down the road in less than an hour.
Kauai is the perfect mix of jungle, beach, fast heavy rain, caves, and laid back locals. If you do not leave the place relaxed then you are doing it wrong.
Normally, I am an active parent. Too active. All of that, "you are going to shoot your eye out!" paranoia.
In Kauai, I am not.
You want to jump off that cliff into the water? Sounds reasonable. You think that we should chuck rocks at cars? Sounds fun.
We pull up to a beach on the North Shore. It is a perfect Kauaian day. Warm drops fall for about five minutes as we cross the street and explore a cave.
Upon exiting, Isaac asks to swim in the ocean. The beach’s clean white sand and clear warm water beckon. I assent.
This particular beach is unusual though. The sand slopes directly into the crashing waves. This makes it so that there is not the normal border between dry sand and wave where children normally frolic.
Isaac and Izzy play merrily on the beach. Izzy picks for shells along the hot sand. Occasionally, she goes to dip a toe into the ocean, but the cold spray from the crashing waves push her back onto seashell duty.
Isaac loves water. He runs into and back from the waves. They slap his body and he shrieks in delight.
I think, “This is not safe.” But, laid back me replies, “Listen to how happy his is bro.”
So I decide to not interrupt the play. Instead, I content myself with close surveilance.
I am immediately awarded by a look of sheer glee as Isaac’s beams at me while hurdling an incoming wave.
“See bro, let the boy live his li-”
Mid self-congratulation Isaac is gone. A particularly large wave crashes down upon the shore. White bubbles pervade the shore. Amidst them Isaac is not. I frantically watch the wave recede and with it any sign of him.
I sprint down the hill and dive into the ocean. I open my eyes beneath the ocean put can only see the white mixing of the waters. I reach around in a spasm of fear, but there is no sign of him.
The waves are dragging me away from the shore and I know that Isaac is lost. I need air, but I need to keep looking. Just as I attempt to rise up, I feel his leg. I grab it, and him, and struggle to rise; unable because of the crashing of incoming waves.
Eventually they subside and I am able to rise out of the water with Isaac. We stumble through the water to the shore and fall on the sand, and laugh and cry and sit in stunned silence.
On the way home, I do not get lost once.
From: Not Kauai. Paris.