According to my birth certificate and our bathroom mirror, I’m about to turn 50 years old. I was born in April 1965, so it all adds up. But for some reason, in my head and heart, it doesn’t. I still feel like a young man in my late 20s or early 30s at the most. I guess most men around my age always feel younger than they actually are…or at least they want to.
The first birthday I remember that my father had was when he turned thirty-eight. We lived in an old farmhouse that we’d rented just outside of Highland, KS and I remember the big “3” and “8” candles on his cake. The funny thing is though…he was already old, at least he was to me. I wonder if he knew he was old then. Or if he felt like I do when he was the age I am now. My father passed away at 51, so I never got to have a conversation with him about growing up or growing old. I’ve just had to try to figure it out, and as you can tell, I haven’t yet. Part of me hopes I never will.
I have always wanted to make a family trip back to Hawaii. I was stationed there when I was in my early twenties (or maybe I was already old?) when Heidi and Hopie were just babies. And though they’ve seen it in pictures in our photo albums and I have memories of living there… I’ve always wanted to go back, to bring my family and experience it one more time.
So this year, for my upcoming fiftieth birthday, Joey arranged for us all to go spend one week on Oahu and one week on the Big Island.
It was a magical trip. In late February, we packed our bags full of warm-weather clothes (I promised Joey and the girls that I wouldn’t even take a pair of bib overalls with me, and I didn’t). So we said goodbye to the ice and the cold and landed in a beautiful sunny paradise… me, Joey, Heidi, her husband Casey, Hopie, and our little Indiana.
For two weeks, we didn’t just walk down memory lane… we made incredible memories that will last a lifetime! We walked beaches, hiked craters, caught waves, climbed volcanos, road catamarans, drank Mai Tai’s, and even blew out a few candles together. It was our favorite vacation we’ve ever taken. Most of the trips that we call family vacations are actually places where we’re playing a show and trying to fit in a few days of touris around it. This one was different. There was no music, no plan, no rush… just us all being together as a family. I loved it.
I didn’t bring a camera with me on this trip, but since Joey and I became iPhone people again a couple of months ago… I made sure to capture some of my favorite moments with mine.
We’ve been back home for a few weeks now, but I still find myself still listening to some of the island music we listened to when we were there. We built a fire the other night in the campfire pit in the backyard and Joey, Indy, and I sat together and watched the sun go down and flames rise up, while we listened to an open-tuned Hawaiian guitar play a beautiful melody.
It took us back…