Hawaiian Shirt

Poke is raw tuna cut into small cubes and mixed with different spices. My current favorite is dynamite because it has avocado.

It’s a big deal in Hawaii and we have eaten it for lunch pretty much every day since we arrived on Kona. It’s delicious and so fresh here. But there are other restaurants, other foods to try.

This has been a tough vacation.

I know. I’m in Hawaii, boo hoo. I get that on the surface an island vacation looks wonderful, but reality often lies beneath the surface of any snapshot.

Michael’s work has been crazy challenging this year and that doesn’t go away simply because we pack our swim suits and spray on sunscreen. He’s dealing with a lot, we love him, so that means we are all in it to some degree.

Self-help gurus and life coaches give lip service to striking a balance between work and play, but the cold hard truth is that work usually wins. It has to because without it the vacations dry up fast.

People outside our family are counting on or demanding things from one of our own. That never goes away.

It ebbs and flows. Interrupts a Fourth of July while allowing for time to attend an afternoon school event, but it’s always there. It is easy to spout that a person should, “put the phone away” or “just shut work off,” but that’s not how things work in the real world.

What has to get done often wins out over waves and sand.

This trip is still time away, time together, but it’s been beaten up a bit by what creeps onto the edges of a postcard. Which explains the poke (pronounced poke-eh).

When things spin out of control Michael and I often tunnel down to something consistent we can control. I suppose those same life coaches would call it a “coping mechanism.”

Coffee at Starbucks every morning for weeks. Drives around late at night with no destination in mind. There was even a particularly low point years ago when we met at Subway for 6″ subs. . . every day. These are little things that hunker us down during a storm.

Our children love poke. Well, Maggie isn’t particularly thrilled, but she never likes anything. We’ve taken to calling it a “poke party” every afternoon. No matter what the day brings, we make rice and a couple of us run to Da Poke Shack and stock up on what’s fresh.

It’s good, consistent. So when all three kids get massive debilitating sunburns on the backs of their legs the very first day we arrive, or I have a meltdown for any number of reasons, or our patience is widdled down by work, the poke party works.

Vacation or no vacation. Island or idle Thursday. All families deal with things. The challenges vary greatly, but I’m pretty sure we all reach for bits of light, moments of fun to pull us through the yuck, until we can snorkel again.

My thoughts from the laundry room. A hui hou Aloha.

Adapting coping family hope

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