Hello AtlanticMy passport lies beneath the fruit bowl’s shadow next to a random penny and within sight of a drinking glass brimming with sea shells. At the end of my kitchen counter (still, always, and forever cluttered) is a grey pebble, a mountain in impossible, undeniable miniature. Passport, penny, sea shells, pebble: all mementos of my recent visit to the other side of the planet, an adventure born of longing, stubbornness, miracles, hard work, selfishness and benediction. Now – nearly two weeks after I staggered off the plane straight back into home’ (and winter)’s enthusiastic embrace – I’m right back in the mayhem and reality of my life. Except the horizon’s canted a little to the left, the Pacific Ocean no longer seems quite so wide and my pants are cheerfully tighter than when I left. I don’t want to put my suitcases away. I want to go back.

I want to go back to the beginning of my holiday, and soak it all up again. Two weeks glutted with laughter, sand, aspen trees, hugs, incredible food, noise, root beer and the boom giggle rush sizzle whisper swell and spark of deep, fluffy and electric conversations with friends through it all. Two weeks of my motherheart gnawing on the thousands of miles and kilometres between my sons and I, while a long forgotten and entirely parched garden within grew fat and lush on the hours of discussion, rest and contemplation.

Some holidays I’ve loathed coming home, other times couldn’t wait to walk through my door. This holiday, I was nauseous leaving home for the airport. Leave my sons, my responsibilities, my familiars all for something as frivolous and useless as a holiday? Insanity! Selfishness! Stupidity! Dereliction of duty! Actually, turns out it wasn’t.  God stomped and danced and laughed all over my fortnight away, sat right down beside me in airports, watched grinning as I jumped into a Texan swimming hole and punched my arm whenever I (needlessly) worried about my sons. I didn’t go on holidays to escape my life, but have certainly brought my holiday back to my life, and dare say my holiday has brought me back to life too.

So I don’t want to pack away my reminders. My suitcase still – fourteen hectic days later – stands half open, a black battered conch shell spilling the muted roar of memories into my bedroom. I’m not going to pack it away until I’ve written everything down, so I can revisit it all, and one expansive, specific moment in particular. Of being felt up by the Atlantic Ocean under an exultant sky, laughing and sobbing and speechless at the immensity and impossible perfection of dreams, pennies, sea shells, pebbles, a blue covered passport and a crazy loving God.

What did your last holiday teach you? What do you want to go back to do, see, taste, breathe, feel? How do you find time to rest, contemplate, spend time with friends and make sure you don’t get personally parched? Where is your dream holiday location?


  1. Andrea R.

    August 28, 2013

    Love you so much Kel! You can come back anytime, and I will take to to be felt up by the Atlantic Ocean again.

  2. Justine

    August 28, 2013

    It was such a joy to see you again! And I often do the same, almost dreading the actual approach of an anticipated vacation because I know it will pass so quickly and then be over!

  3. robin marie

    August 28, 2013

    This was beautiful! It reminds me of just one year ago when my husband took me to his beloved Italy. He served his mission in Rome and has returned many times. We kept putting off the trip thinking it frivolous. But after a hard year and losing another pregnancy we went. And I was strengthened by the people, the food, the language, the history, and the Vatican. Sitting in a reverent alcove of a chapel I said a silent prayer. And a year later it is answered.

  4. Strollerblader

    August 28, 2013

    Beautiful writing! I am jealous of this vacation of yours! But, I *did* get to go on a mostly-solo vacation myself this summer. One that was hard-fought for. I just wanted some Me Time and time to relax and not have to be a mom all the time. My son was at a day camp at BYU with his cousin, so I had time with my mom and by myself each day while he was at camp. And I got to drive over there all by myself; I love a good solo roadtrip! Got to go to the temple and look through IKEA without worrying too much about how much time I was taking browsing. I started learning to play the cello.

  5. Heather B from SC

    August 28, 2013

    I just felt really honored to be able to be party to such torture as hanging out together on Coco Beach, eating Pav, and generally, well, just having a lovely if flusteringly quick weekend…and am very glad to know your boys survived. Mine did, too. Now, my spouse is still whiny, but….

  6. Caryl from Macktown

    August 28, 2013

    I love reading your fabulous writing 🙂

  7. Michelle

    August 28, 2013

    Thank you for giving me a mini-holiday during your holiday. Love you!

  8. Melonie

    August 30, 2013

    Dear girl, come back.

  9. Tracey (Carpe Librum blog)

    August 30, 2013

    I’m so glad it turned out just as you’d hoped! I’m so proud of you for taking the leap, and I loved all of the updates along the way 🙂

  10. Giggles

    September 2, 2013

    I love the description of God going on vacation with you. I truly believe that happens and he wants us to relax and enjoy every now and then. After all, the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath.

  11. Jennie

    September 5, 2013

    Now that you realized that everything at home turned out fine while you were gone, you’ll have to run away more often!

    So glad we could help entertain you for a little while!

    (It always takes me a couple of weeks to unpack. Because that’s how you really know you’re back from a trip.)

  12. Michelle

    September 6, 2013

    I’m a witness that God went on vacation with you! p.s. and he told you to write!

    You know, my two most memorable vacations were both times when I went kicking and screaming to the airport— the first, where I sobbed to leave my babies and my husband had to call my best friend from the airport to talk me through it, the second, just days after my mother died. Both vacations sustained me for months and years and likely decades to come.

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