Keeping Up With Ma
The sun set behind us and the sky above the sea lit up in a rosy glow. I looked first at my sister, three years younger than me with salty sea drenched curls bouncing over her shoulders and a small contented grin easing across her face. Then I looked at my mother, salt and pepper short tight curls framing her face with deepened lines marking the years of sunny days, adventures and laughter she’s shared. We hadn’t been all together in almost two years, miles and covid keeping us apart
We hiked, snorkeled, and ate our way across the island falling into the same old roles we always shared. Me, the bossy older sister, the planner, organizer and logistics queen. My sister Dominique always the camp chef, starting the stove to make the coffee that used to be hot cocoa, and mom, always finding the next mountain to climb or body of water to swim in even if the rest of us are tired and just want to read our books. We spent time reminiscing about past campfires lit in the Adirondacks and that we still flail at making them as adults in Hawaii.
I got to share my newfound love of coconut water with them - because out of an actual chilled coconut far exceeds the taste of canned or bottled coconut water. Plus we needed the extra electrolytes to keep up with Ma.
I always joke my mom needs to be walked twice a day. To which she says “With the right attitude, aging happens and makes us slow down - which is good for me and the pace of life in Hawaii suited this intention well. Simultaneously as I’ve aged I want to make sure I stay active and intellectually stimulated all the time for the health of my mind and body”.
We climbed up Crouching Lion in our skorts and got compliments along the way. The hike was a steep and slightly sketchy at times climb that overlooked the ocean and mountains that many may recognize from Jurassic Park. We felt like we were on the set even though none of us had seen the movie yet. We made a mom sandwich, Dominique ahead and me behind so that mom could use our hands and arms as tree branches to assist her balance on the way up and down.
“I want to be just like you when I grow up” I always told her. When reflecting about the trip with my sister we both agreed that the greatest source of this inspiration comes from mom’s endless curiosity. In the moment it can require some extra patience but is truly remarkable. Whether it’s fish we see on the bottom of the ocean or birds that fly overhead or the trails we hike she has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and is always asking questions to learn more.
It feels like home coming together after two years. There’s a comfort being around your people who know you so well - an effortlessness and while we bickered occasionally, and rolled our eyes once or twice we didn’t want the time together to end. Until the next trip, thank goodness for cell phones.
-Words and photos by Gretchen Powers (@gpowersfilm)-