“At about 1,860 miles from the nearest continent, the Hawaiian Island archipelago is the most isolated grouping of islands on earth.” I first heard this news from Ilene, the doctor of Chinese medicine who tended to my fungus and other physical anomalies with both aplomb and grace. She heard it on an Hawaiian Air flight after having making her home on Maui for a long time. “And I live there!” she'd marveled with a dash of shock. You can imagine how it hit a rookie dweller like me.

The truth is that most of the time I feel anything but “islolated” or “archipelagoized.” I feel instead like a child set down on a cloud and sky playground that seems to expand in every direction. Free to roam, explore, and wander with the heart-waking blue of the sea as my watchful guardian...

Except when it comes to those outer children, the ones who made me forever grand since showing up in this life just eight and four years ago. When it comes to Jaden and Abby, the grandmother clock is still alive in me and by its rhythm, I should be with them now instead of 1,860 miles from the continent of their beautiful faces.
 the last couple of weeks, my timing and their lively family schedule haven’t meshed, but today I got lucky. Abby answered the phone. We talked about swimming, ballet and her upcoming debut in pre-school. “Abby, you sound so grown up,” I said. “Yes, I am! I’m growing and growing!” Most of the muddled, precious babyness has leaked out of her voice. When Jaden came on the line, he asked me about the gecko status in my house (he’d previously requested I bring him one for a pet), and wanted to know if I’d call him when I spotted one. We talked about fishing and their recent camping trip. About jumping off the dock at the river last Saturday and watching an old TV show from his Daddy’s childhood with him last night.

When I hung up, my heart was full, but so were my eyes. There’s no doubt that I belong here in Maui, but I belong with my grandchildren too. I dearly miss my children as well, but they aren’t growing out of their clothes or their voices since we last hugged. This is one of the bittersweet dilemmas of life…that when you follow your heart, you sometimes crush a piece of it too.

Wait a Maui minute! (Which would be at least ten) Just because I live in Hawaii doesn’t mean I can’t keep my date with destiny every three or four months! What part of me signed off on that belief?  
In response to my course correction, provision arrives. The island competition between Alaska Air and Hawaiian Air blessed me with a direct, round-trip ticket for an unprecedented grand total of $285.60.  I’ll be using that ticket to welcome my third grandchild, Geren, into the world in October…and will return next year to the whole Portland clan just as the grandmother clock strikes twelve!

A Hui Hou,