Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eyes of the Young

Several weeks ago, I went to a conference held in Hawaii and I made the decision to take my young daughter along with me. For many reasons, this trip was a very big deal for me. When I asked my daughter if she wanted to go, it was not a question that I asked lightly or on the spur of the moment. Successfully balancing work time and quality time with my little one is not something that has ever come naturally to me. This trip marked the first time that she and I would undertake something of this magnitude alone together. I only asked her after I searched my heart and soul to be sure that I was mentally capable of really giving myself to her without my past definition of family overwhelming me.

Several weeks ago I talked about my thought process and my associated struggles on this issue (see Life's Journey + and Life's Journey -). The key notion that made me go for it is that I was kind of sensing that this might be the last great adventure that we get to go on together as a daddy and his little girl, before she got too old to embrace the adventure and I was too old to enjoy it. Adventures of this kind are the stuff that make memories. Now that three weeks have passed since our journey began and two weeks have passed since our return, I sat down with my daughter to find out what she thinks she will remember the most about our trip. Below is her list top 10 list (with some minor embellishments from her old man).
  • Plane ride: The 3 hr delay 20 ft from the gate at Ohare on the way out coupled with the anticipation of the fun week ahead. The "quick" plane ride home and sleeping on daddy's shoulder.
  • POG: the local juice consisting of passion fruit, orange, and guava juices. Maddie measured the quality of her day by how many glasses of POG that she got to drink.
  • Swimming pools: She loved the different swimming pools at the hotel. One had awesome waterfalls and a long water slide.
  • Hotel: Nothing like staying at a 5-star hotel.
  • Wacky advice: The Japanese lady at the hotel office recommending for us to tour Walmart and K-Mart (see Crack Tourism Office).
  • Special food: Funny that she added this when her diet consisted mostly of Subway sandwiches, pancakes, bagels, and snacks.
  • Lava fields: Harsh and barren fields of lava rocks that were everywhere and stretched for miles.
  • Turtles: Taking a walk along the beach on our last night in town, we passed a grouping of five sea turtles sunning themselves.
  • Pictures: Maddie took over 300 pictures with her very own camera and created a special album for herself.
  • Dolphins: The hotel has a program where she got to swim and play with dolphins. Just don't ask her to give one a kiss!
So there you have it folks, mission accomplished. This sure beats letting life pass by watching yet another rerun of Spongebob Squarepants. Get up, get out and live (when you can).