Bidding farewell to last year and ringing in the new needed to be grand. While we can be energized by looking back at the events and accomplishments of the past year, we also look forward to new things to come (resolutions, anyone?). I had a particularly difficult 2012 on several fronts, and was happy to say goodbye to it while anticipating the positive changes that 2013 may bring.
So, in order to officially bid 2012 adieu, my girls and I participated in some exciting and (for me) daredevil types of activities in beautiful, sunny Hawaii. Saying that word alone — “Hawaii” — and one can’t help but glow with the warmth of all the images it creates: beaches, surfing, volcanoes, sunshine, relaxation, and on and on and on…
Our family broke the trip into three parts. First, we were in Maui for the more “resort-y” and pampering of our stays. That didn’t disappoint, and some of the fun things we did included the obligatory luau and a fun whale watching boat adventure. Whale season begins in mid-December so we were a touch early to see much breaching, but we did get to watch a mama and her baby play in the ocean a bit – much closer than I expected — and it was spectacular.
The second part of our stay was the North Shore area of Oahu, where surfing and big waves are legendary. We explored by snorkeling and then embarked on a very exciting shark cage excursion. My husband shied away, but my girls and I got up at 5am to boat out three miles and voluntarily enter a tethered shark cage, seeing Galapagos sharks up close and in person – a least a half dozen or so at a time. While our own 20 minute dip in the early morning ocean was a bit brisk, nothing will ever take that thrill away. My underwater camera didn’t do the blue waters justice, and the magnificent creatures swam away faster than I was able to click while bobbing in the ocean.
Our final portion was bustling Waikiki, where New Year’s partygoers were en masse. There was no way I could keep my two young ones in bed and asleep as midnight approached, so we were able to semi-participate in the celebrations from our hotel balcony. Our highlights here included a 1,000 foot tandem parasailing adventure – all together – with a “dip” in the ocean upon our descent back to the boat. “Brave” mom, trying to keep the sense of adventure together for the kids, had a death grip so tight on the rope that my right arm and hand were numb for about two days afterwards (as if squeezing the rope would help in any way should disaster strike).
The girls have so very many highlights of the trip they have trouble listing a favorite – aside from the above, there was surfing, shopping (yes, American shopping!), seeing so many beautiful rainbows in the “Rainbow State” and so much more. I wanted to make sure that there was something memorable at each step of the way, even though participating in these wouldn’t make or break the vacation. It was Hawaii, after all.
For me, though, it was cathartic. I needed to say goodbye to 2012 in a grand way, and welcome 2013 in an even more spectacular fashion. No matter how long jet lag takes to get over or how hard it may be adjusting to the very cold temperatures here, I can close my eyes and remember the simultaneous thrills and relaxation of Hawaii — and be ready to begin a brand new year.