Nearly a month has passed since my family spent our final sleepless night in Nampa, Idaho. The 48 hours prior to our departure were the most mentally exhausting hours of my life. So many loose ends to tie up. So many tears amongst friends and family. The four months leading up to this moment had been nothing but physical and mental labor in our efforts to sell all of our possessions, finalize my employment, ship our vehicle, locate a home sight unseen…and the list goes on. Now, this final night, my family of five lay silent in our home that was eerily empty with the exception of a few blankets we reserved for sleeping. On one blanket, lay my 19-year-old stepdaughter, Laura. Next to her, lay 12-year-old Grace and 7-year-old Ella. On the last blanket, my husband and I held each other tight.
Silent tears ran down my face. Not tears of sadness about leaving. These were tears for those we would leave behind, Laura included. Although given the option, she chose to stay in Idaho with her mother to continue her degree at Boise State. I listened in the darkness as she and her sisters chatted and giggled. I would miss these times with her. But, she’s a wise girl and I knew she would be okay.
At some point, I dozed off. It seemed I barely closed my eyes when the alarm sounded at 4 am. It was time. Our bags were packed and ready to go. They were all we would take with us. There was too much luggage for our small rental car to handle (our remaining vehicle had been shipped two weeks prior), so Laura would drive separately to help carry it all.
There was both joy and sadness in the air. A strange feeling that I had not experienced since my stint as a nanny near New York City at the age of 19. But, this time, it was a much bigger feeling. After nearly 40 years, I would leave the only home I had known and venture off to the Big Island with my family, sight unseen. There was absolutely no question I was doing the right thing. This was my calling. Moving to Hawaii was something I had envisioned since I was a teenager and further solidified when my husband and I were married in Maui 13 years earlier. Following years of being “responsible” by working my way in and out of corporate jobs and a near-divorce because my husband and I were both living a “lie,” we were ready.
Laura assisted us in unloading our luggage at the airport drop-off. We all exchanged a few more hugs and tears and watched her drive away. I felt so thankful we had already purchased her ticket to come see us for three weeks at Christmas.
As the plane shot up from the ground, Grace and Ella stared in awe below as the large buildings transitioned into toy houses. I shed my final silent tears and said goodbye to the last 39 years of my life. With the exception of visiting, I knew I most likely would not return. I was ready to begin living for the first time.
Ten hours (including one layover) later, the plane finally touched down. We were home. This island had been calling my family for a long time, but we had been too caught up in the “rat race” of life to hear it. Now, even in the midst of the whirlwind comprised of retrieving our luggage, locating another rental car, and finding our new dwelling, nothing felt more right. As we drove from the airport to our home, all windows were down. I stared in awe at the ocean before me and deeply inhaled the ocean air. I felt as though I were in a dream. It was then I recognized that this really was a dream, only we had finally made it come true.
We arrived at our furnished townhouse around 5 pm (9 pm Idaho time). Nancy (the wonderful woman who managed our place) was waiting to greet us at the front door. She had helped us through so much of this process and now she was there with open arms and a friendly “Aloha.”
Upon entry, we were so pleased with this home that we rented on faith. Although our former house was three times larger and significantly less money than this 972 square foot, 2-bedroom, 2-bath townhouse, I instantly liked it more. There was something unexplainable and nearly magical about the energy here.The mainland owners had left friendly notes in every room instructing us about things that we would need to know, including the use of the television/fans/lights and how to keep those pesky cockroaches at bay!
We could not get the grins off of our faces as Nancy led us out to the back lanai and around the corner. We knew the beach was close to our home, but were shocked to find it was only about 30 feet from our backyard. Nancy could see our excitement and left us to take it all in.
We returned to the townhouse and began to explore. The girls excitedly ran from room to room and exclaimed their love of our new home and did not seem to care one bit that they would be sharing a room and king-sized bed for the next 6 months.
It didn’t take long for the ocean to beckon us. We walked out to our new retreat and stared off into the horizon. Thousands of miles of nothing but water separated us from where we came. I felt complete peace. The sun was beginning to set. It descended toward the ocean and it seemed it was sinking into the water itself. It was breathtaking. I took one more deep breath. I felt as though I was absorbing the island into my being. Yes, indeed we were home.