Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making New Childhood Memories

 Sometimes I stop and think,"Wow! This is an entirely different life from the one I grew up with. My kids are growing up in Utah. Utah!" 
I wonder when this is going to stop surprising me?

Utah was always the place we'd visit on vacation with my parents! We spent a Thanksgiving up in Provo one time to visit my Grandmother on her 80th birthday. I was 11 years old. My Grandma Lois was a California native, but she had moved up to Provo to be closer to one of her sons who was a Professor at BYU. I remember sledding excitedly in the white, powdery snow, and gazing up in awe at those glorious, majestic, Wasatch mountains! Then we spent a summer in Hurricane once when I was 12, water-skiing on Quail Lake and tubing in the Virgin River. My memories are full of dry heat and scorching sun, and the cool, refreshing feeling of water surrounding me. I always thought that if you're going to live in the deserts of Utah, you should live next to a river or lake--something to give you relief from the heat. 
Another Utah vacation we took was to drop my eldest brother off at the Missionary Training Center in Provo in 1994. I was 14 then. We stayed in Pleasant Grove for several weeks, playing in rivers and picking unlimited amounts of yellow sunflowers. I think I fell in love with Utah that summer because I convinced my parents to let me stay for the upcoming school semester. I ended up staying with some family friends and sleeping on their living room carpet. They enrolled me in middle school, where I attended until I got sick of Utah and/or it got too cold. I flew back to Hawaii around October, having "lived" in Utah for about 2 months. (That crazy experience deserves an entire post of it's own!)  

After these fun-filled, and curious adventures in Utah, I was always anxious to go home again; back to permanent warmth, back to tropical humidity, and back to the ocean that surrounded my island home.   
When the plane would land down in Honolulu and the doors of the aircraft were finally opened, the smell of sea breeze and Plumeria flowers would instantly fill my senses. My thoughts would drift to the beach, where I could run down the sand and jump into the ocean anytime I wanted to. And I always wanted to! Because no matter where we lived on Oahu, the ocean was always down the street, across the road, or through the bushes, and that meant there was always instant access to the biggest, most exciting playground on the planet. 
I always figured this is where I would settle down and raise a family. It almost happened in 2011 when my husband (an LA native) and I moved to the Big Island with our little boys. But that only lasted 2 years before we realized we had to change and move again.
So here I am as a grown mama, having experienced lots of twists and turns and surprises along the road, permanently raising our children in Utah.  

I'm still settling into this new idea, though it's not a  bad thing, it's a new adventure! Last year in Hawaii when I told a family member we would be moving back to Utah, I was offered condolences for our terrible loss. Hmmmmm--Not the response I was hoping for, for this is the place we have chosen to live, not by some horrible default. (hahaha--sigh....)

My curiosity leads me to wonder what my children's memories will be? I wonder what they will love about this place, and if they ever move away, what will they miss and be excited to come home to? 
I'm sure there's a zillion things they will attach their senses to. Our noses have a way of picking up fragrances of nature and carrying them forever in our hearts. The wild sage, the  musty desert sand, the smell of creeks and rivers bubbling through green grass--all these wonderful Utah smells will seep into their memories forever and bring them back home again. Just like my memories of salty ocean spray, burning banana leaves, and the strong scent of suntan oil will forever remind me of Hawaii.

My children's outdoor expereinces will be so vastly different than mine. Instead of looking for sea shells and sea glass on the sand, they will discover river rocks and fossils. Instead of splashing in the ocean waves, they will float and swim laps in the lakes and rivers. Instead of surfing, bodyboarding, and snorkeling they will snow-shoe, sled, and snowboard. Instead of hiking to waterfalls through the lush, green jungle, they will hike up red rock canyons, and through thick forests of pine trees.
Their neighborhood has shrubby hills to climb, city parks, and a long, winding bike path through the town. My neighborhood had Sharks Cove, Sunset beach, and Waimea Bay! Sometimes I feel sad that they will never know what it's like to wake up and go jump off the big rock at the Bay: a morning, summer ritual I adopted when I was in my teens. Or wake up, grab their snorkel gear and go swim through caves at the cove: something we did year after year in the long, summer months. Or wake up, grab their surfboards, and head for the ocean, because the waves are glassy, off-shore, and overhead! These are just some of my favorite, forever, fond memories of growing up. 

So, what will their memories be? 
I'm excited to find out!  I've always loved Utah, and know that they will, too.
 I'm excited to be on this new adventure with my children, though completely different from my own, I'm ready to help them create wonderful, lasting memories in this new place they call home. 

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