I have a sensitive stomach, sensitive skin, and a sensitive spirit; I am a sensitive person. With that being said, I have a bit of a tendency to get sappy quickly so here I go: My heart is never more full than when my entire family is together. As the third oldest of seven children and the second of five girls, our family dynamic is one that has been intentionally and strategically built. We are the product of very few television privileges, even fewer sleepovers outside the house and two big cross country moves- we have always had no choice but to choose each other. Summers used to represent game nights, so much time playing outside that I’m surprised we still enjoy grass and trees and such, and annual family vacations to the Lake House, Wisconsin, Texas and Disney World. But more often than not we would find ourselves on a long flight to Hawaii, unaware of the rare luxury this tropical paradise was and just how few people get to spend time there. We had our favorite restaurant, our favorite hotel, and our favorite traditions.
Now that we are older, real life has set in and summer is no longer what it was. The three golden months that used to serve as a shrine to sunshine, smores and sleep have been overtaken by work, summer school, sports schedules, and adulthood. Some of us are married and building our own family memories, and since we are scattered between Minnesota, Chicago and Virginia- planning whole family get-togethers isn’t as simple as it used to be. But like I said earlier, this family dynamic has been strategic and intentional, which is exactly how we approach family time. Our family vacation to Hawaii has been in the works for a year, moving schedules around, setting aside dates, and booking villas large enough to accommodate a party of 14. With lot’s of phone calls and plenty of God’s favor, the two-week, two-island vacation was a success. And by success, of course, I mean the best time I could have ever possibly imagined.
It took us about a week to adjust to the time change (Virginia is six hours ahead of Hawaii) which left us zombies by 9pm and wide awake at 4:30am. Being able to see the sunrise and play with my precious niece, Brooklynne, before the rest of the world woke up made me filled to the brim with joy. My husband’s parents joined us for the trip and I was so blessed by the joy their first trip to Hawaii gave them and just how beautifully our families have blended together. My husband learned to surf, we all learned to paddle board, and each day felt as if it were an entire summer. We spent time at the beach and pool of course, and we ate practically non-stop (something Singletary’s are very good at) but mostly, we laughed. There is something so nostalgic about being back on the islands we pranced around for so many summers as children, but the most beautiful part is that we could have been in a trailer in my parent’s backyard and those two weeks would have been just as magical. That’s the thing about our family. We make magic out of nothing but jokes and stories and conversation. And even though we are growing up and ever evolving, our bond is stronger than distance and stronger than change and I already can’t wait to do it all again.