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A multi-generational family adventure

BEACH COMBING KAPALUA BEACH

©TIMOTHY FOWLER

LONO AND AUNTIE JULIA ON MOLOKAI,

HOTEL MOLOKAI ©TIMOTHY FOWLER

14

Ultimate Family Vacations | FALL 2017

Memories of

MAUI

By Timothy Fowler

Since before our boys were toddlers, we always

tried to introduce them to as much of the world

as we could, to feed their curiosity and bolster

their life experience. By doing that, we made

some incredible memories. It wasn’t long before

they wanted the same for their own wives and

kids, and now, it seems only natural that we travel

together as an extended family.

My parents had to shoe-horn us kids into the

back seat of our metallic blue Chrysler for annual

cross-country road trips, but the fun was

undeniable when we cannon-balled off the

weathered wooden dock into the waters of

summer vacation at my uncle’s hotel in Muskoka.

His was a 1970’s, all-inclusive sort of getaway

with a sumptuous meal plan and unlimited water

sports. I learned to paddle a canoe, breathe

through a snorkel and water ski. It was my first

exposure to fine dining; me, 12-years-old, eyes

wide, licking my lips at the sight of blue flames

swirling over mahogany-red cherries. I had

my earliest glimpses of twilight fireflies, of

underwater striped bass. I learned to be curious,

to be open to new experiences and to taste

everything. Those early encounters fueled my

appetite for travel.

As I grew older, I realized I wanted to share this

glorious thing we call vacation with my children,

and their children, and even the in-laws. The

decision to escape winter with a trip to Maui was

an easy one. The kids had discovered Maui as

teenagers, and again with new brides, who

happen to be sisters. Soon, their own mother

and father wanted to add it to their Hawaiian

collection as well.

When it came to planning, the toughest part was

getting everyone to speak up about what they

really desired to see or do. Laugh if you like,

but we had a family meeting, kept minutes, and

worked hard to ensure everyone got what they

wanted. We even developed a daily calendar

to ensure all the important stuff made it into our

schedule.

We also made sure not to plan. In fact, every

second day of our itinerary was marked “free

time,” leaving plenty of opportunities to swim in

the resort pool, pursue personal interests, and for

the couples, enjoy some alone time. That way,

we were all happy without being exhausted — no

compromise required. After all, this is a vacation,

not a marathon.

This strategy worked well. Once we arrived, the

grandparents took turns hosting the little ones

for sleepovers, so their parents could enjoy a

night out and a languid sleep-in.

Another early morning, I got to comb the beach

with my three-year-old granddaughter, squatting

in her perfect straight-back posture to inspect

crabs along the shore, asking me: “What’s this,

Grandpa?”

Later that same day, my 18-month-old grandson

leapt fearlessly into my arms, squealing with

delight in the pool. There is no exhaustion like

that of a completely spent toddler — nor a

better feeling of satisfaction than holding his

sleeping form in a lounge chair, snuggled in a

beach towel, breathing heavy, rhythmic, sighs.

SURFBOARDS RENTAL IN MAUI

DADDY-DAUGHTER SAND CASTLE CONSTRUCTION

©TIMOTHY FOWLER

FALL 2017 | Ultimate Family Vacations

15

FOR SOME, VACATIONING WITH THE IN-LAWS IS A

NECESSARY EVIL. FOR ME, IT’S A NECESSARY PLEASURE.