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Going To Hawaii

Yesterday morning I left my snug, warm
house to walk Maddie to school. The temperature outside was 20
degrees. I know it’s colder elsewhere, like Mount Everest,
but here in Texas that’s chilly. I was ready to shave a few
years off the life left in this planet and burn some fossil fuels
to drive Maddie to school in a nice warm car, but that kid loves
the near-mile walk and insisted we not drive so we bundled up and
headed out.

Anyway, I left a quiet house – Cora was still upstairs asleep
and my mom was dozing in her bed. When I got home, as I stripped
off my big down coat Cora came running down the stairs in a
gymnastics leotard – and nothing else. “Mommy!”
she said excitedly, as my mom followed blearily behind her.
“We’re going to Hawaii! Do you want to come with

Um, yes?

So that’s how we spent our morning
– going to Hawaii. Over, and over, and over. Here’s how
it goes, and believe me, Cora’s rules are strict.

First, you pack a bag. This involves getting out your backpack
– it’s what we use for carry-ons or car bags –
and filling it with important stuff, like books and sunglasses and
tic-tacs. Cora always grabs Maddie’s backpack because
it’s the rolling kind and Cora thinks that’s SO COOL,
and Maddie suffers the poaching as only a teenager – excuse
me, five-year-old – can, with moans and eye-rolling.
Yesterday, Cora loaded her bag with the entire contents of her
leotard drawer, tic-tacs, four books, and some lip gloss. In case,
ya know.

Then we bring our bags down the stairs. This is a very big part of
the game, since Cora loves the telescoping handle on Maddie’s
backpack. She lengthens it all the way out, then drags it down the
stairs one careful step at a time, grunting as she goes. She hates
it for anyone to get to the bottom of the stairs before her, so you
find yourself taking one. Slow. Step. At. A. Time. The whole time,
Cora’s getting more and more excited as we “leave

Finally we arrive at the airport – our fireplace. We sit on
the cold slate tile – the “airplane” – for
a “long, I mean really long, Mommy” time: five minutes.
Cora sits in her leotard while I sit in my two (2) cashmere
sweaters, two (2) pairs of socks and a pair of slippers. I’m
cold, but I’m cheap and won’t turn the heat up too
high. I wonder why our airlines doesn’t hand out blankets for
the flight.

Then we’re there – Hawaii. Also known as our living
room. I put Hawaiian music on the stereo – “Mommy,
they’re singing to greet us!” – and we go to our
hotel, also known as the couch. We unpack (read: Cora puts on
another layer of lip gloss) and head for the beach.

The beach is our big, family-sized beach mat spread out on our
living room floor. Cora brings her backpack, now transformed into
our beach bag, filled with sunglasses, water, and books to read. We
lie under the “sun” and read books together for a long
time, until it’s time to go back to our hotel for quiet time.

Cora wipes the sweat off her brow, applies another layer of lip
gloss, then cuddles up on the couch to read more books for quiet
time. Then we get on the plane, fly back home, and do it all again.
I’m not really sure where the gymnastics leotard was supposed
to fit in here.

Actually, as I write all this, it doesn’t sound so strange
after all. Pack light, bring plenty of books, and spend your entire
vacation lying on the beach reading or dozing at the hotel.

Ok, I’m sold.


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