Before every meal we ate at the house, David, Deb, or really anyone who was close, would ring the gamelan—which is similar to a xylophone—to announce that dinner was ready. I always loved hearing it, because unlike the usual rush or dread of making and eating dinner I feel at home, it felt like a celebration of another meal we got to share together as a family. That being said, it was only fitting that on our last day in Hawaii, we were woken up not by the sun or the birds or an alarm, but by the gamelan.
The previous day had been a long one, and we were all worn out. We mosied up to the kitchen at different paces, at varying levels of awake, sad and happy all at the same time.
Sandy and George had early flights while the rest of us were leaving in the evening. So, we took each other’s hands, joining together as a family for one last time, feeling grateful, loved and understood by one another in a way that no one outside the circle would ever truly understand.
I packed up my things, already feeling a certain level of separation anxiety from the routine we’d acclimated to over the last week. I wondered what it would be like to go back to the “real world.” Would it be the same, would I be the same? And though I knew a surface glance would suggest, “yes,” I knew better. For just as our cliff jump had encouraged a new way to jump, and our vision boards created a new way to dream, a shift back into “reality” would provide nothing short of a new opportunity to live. I would take what I learned, both about others, from others, and within and about myself, and I would use it to break the barriers that have held onto me so tightly. I would tear down the walls that locked me between expectation and anxiety and build new skyscrapers of determination and possibility.
And when I got home, and people asked me about my trip, asked me what it was like to go on one of “Alison’s Adventures”, I’d look at them with a smile, knowing that while the adventure had her name on it, and her blueprints beneath it, we’d all made it our own, and we’d all carry it forward from here.