I am missing you this year. It's no accident I'm traveling all day today . . . for the last I-don't-know-how-many-years we've spent Mothers' Day together. Dad always treated us to that annual May get-away and we had some really special times. We went out of town until you were too sick to do that anymore . . . when you couldn't travel we modified our weekend and stayed at places like the Venetian, the Paris and the Bellagio. We ate at Olives and Spago and Mon Ami Gabi and all our favorite places. We had fancy manicures at spas in the city and then laughed at ourselves at the way we walked through the hotel holding our hands out so our nails wouldn't get messed up. I'm so glad I have those memories.
I am grateful we had our time together at the end. I recognize you may not have chosen your course, but for me to have the opportunity to mother YOU was a tremendous blessing in my life. I am especially grateful for that Saturday (a few weeks before you left us) when I trusted that prompting . . . I knew if there was anything left unsaid I'd better hurry. And so I did. It was hard. But I was able to tell you how I felt about you, that you were a good GOOD mother and that I loved you. And that I hoped I could be half the mother you were. You thanked me in very hushed tone and I knew it meant so much to you. A mere week later and that conversation wouldn't have been possible . . .
I am older now. Perhaps a little wiser. I know neither one of us arrived at motherhood with an instruction manual. When I was younger I had those thoughts (like most of the world, I think) that I had all the answers. I confess I might have even thought I'd be extra good at this mothering thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now I know we learn as we go and I recognize we're all here just trying to do right by the people we love. You mastered that. One thing I have always known was how you, my mother, my advocate, loved me.
We are off shortly for our last dinner in Maui. We're going to Joe's and it promises to be a memorable evening.
One last thing . . . that really early flight we had to catch isn't as early as I remembered. My recollection was of the first set of airline tickets we had, you know, the ones on that airline that filed for Bankruptcy and left us in the lurch. We have some time in the morning and I could just do a dance about that RIGHT NOW. I AM dancing.
Today's spot. . . I am 100% satisfied with each view I had of the Pacific this week. More than I can even tell you. Today they came by with popsicles in addition to the fresh pineapple and oranges and cantalope. Bliss I tell you.
Just a few observations after another day in the sun:
Photo blunder: Not having my camera ready when my companion had his feet in the Pacific and an attendant handed him a glass of ice water. (This place is amazing.)
Dumbest Maui moment: When I asked the concierge why there were no seagulls he said, "um, because it's too far for them to fly." I had to think about it. Dumb.
Most indulgent moment: A manicure with a price tag 3.5 times higher than the one at home.
Today's happiest moment: Realizing all my daughters married for love.
I walked the four-mile oceanfront path this morning and it was spectacular. I saw the Grand Wailea Hotel, The Marriott, The Fairmont and many others. The very best thing about this vacation has been the property . . . we realized we were where we wanted to be. This resort had everything we wanted and more . . . it's been a dream.
So much so that when Ann (our pool attendant for the day) asked me this morning if I enjoyed my Four Seasons vacation I actually started to cry. Don't make fun. Leaving paradise can be a hard thing.
We leave paradise very early tomorrow morning, so I made my way down to the club suite for my last breakfast on the balcony. This was my view.
An older man with a thick Texas accent came over and introduced himself to me this morning. There's vicarious pleasure to be had here at the Four Seasons. I was feeling it this morning watching this man discover what his little continental breakfast will look like every morning. Fun. In any case, he said, "Not everyone can be here celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on the same day President Bush's daughter gets married." I congratulated him and told him we were here celebrating our 25th anniversary and this is what he said:
"Ever heard about the guy who took his wife to Maui for their 25th wedding anniversary? On their 50th he went back to get her."
I might be leaving just in time.
Headed out to walk the oceanfront walkway down to the Grand Wailea Hotel. Pictures to follow.
We decided to skip the three course dinner tonight and cancelled our reservation in Lahaina. Tomorrow we have a great reservation for our last night in Maui. Tonight we needed a break from it all. We went to the club suite and chose some Hawaiian appetizers to eat on the balcony in our room. It overlooks the ocean as well as a putting green and a croquet course. You never even see a speck of paper on the grounds here. They are beautifully manicured.
The vegetable sushi was yummy (pretty sure that was real wasabi) and there are some chicken drumsticks with an Asian flair. Dumplings, too. At 8:30 each evening they put out the ice cream that's become a way of life for us. And pastry. We visit every night. Each night is still a surprise . . . there's so much variety. I would love to meet their pastry chef. Our room is on the 8th floor of the hotel, the top floor. It's the "club" floor . . . the one you need a card to put into the reader so the elevator stops on 8. The suite I keep talking about is unique to the club floor. The people in there are amazing . . . they will make your dinner reservation, find you a tennis partner or make your excursion reservations. They know everything about the island and will tell you when there are dolphins out in the morning or what species of bird is on the balcony. They know us by name and they never laugh when I take pictures of the food . . . they are good at what they do. Very good. There are several oceanfront balconies to have your breakfast or afternoon "tea" in the club suite. There's a little library stocked with plenty of books and updated magazines. A computer and printer for your boarding passes, etc. They've thought of everything. Right down to those bowls of chocolate macadamia nuts on the way out. I love Maui.
The pool attendant congratulated me this morning on securing "prime real estate", also known as the most desirable beach spot on the property. All it took was being on the beach at 6:30 a.m. I managed to stay put for ten hours today in that same spot except for an occasional jaunt to the 8th floor suite for some fresh pineapple and berries. It was bliss. My companion likes to tell me "follow your bliss." I did. I have. This has been the vacation you dream about, just in case you couldn't tell.
Another Maui sunset dinner tonight at DUO. Beautiful spot. Surfing Goat Cheese Fritter (sitting on a bed of ratatouille) Luscious. Island Snapper with Thai Red Coconut Curry dipping sauce. Next to that piece of fish is a potato wrapped in phyllo. uh huh . . .
We also had a Maui onion ring stack, hand cut fries (pretty sure they were done in duck fat) and a fried rice that was scrumptious. Believe it or not, we skipped dessert. They had a raspberry souffle, s'mores made with homemade marshmallows and pavlova. Yes, I love pavlova. Just couldn't do it.
Tomorrow is another day and do we ever have plans.
Tennis clinic (courts are on the roof) and morning pastries. These scones are in the suite every afternoon with that clotted cream and jam. They sit under a heat lamp. They are heavenly. Dim sum this morning . . . some days it's a berry crisp, others an egg white and vegetable frittata. Better than sunblock . . . we take no risks on this trip. Last thing I need is that Irish tan I'm so famous for. My afternoon view. There's barely high/low tide here . . . not sure why. Also, no seagulls. HOW did they manage that? We are headed to DUO for dinner tonight. This was one of Giada's Maui spots and my companion is very excited about tonight's reservation. One word. BEEF. Later.
Would you like a cold towel? Would you like an Evian spritz? Care for some fresh pineapple? Would you like a banana muffin? Can I get you something from the bar? Mango lemonade? A fruit smoothie? Care for some watermelon? Are you done enjoying your hummus? Has someone told you about our pampering Spa treatments in the comfort of your lounge chair? How was your dinner last night, Mrs. L? Where is Dave?
There are practical observations to be made, so I will just bring up a few.
1. Moles are funny. And different. And in odd places. It appears an overwhelming percentage of the population has them. I saw a man with moles that looked like the shape of the State of Florida on his shoulder. 2. Less than 1% of the population looks good in a bathing suit. It makes me wonder, WHAT ARE WE WORRIED ABOUT? Maybe I'm the only one worried. 3. There's a lot of politeness here. Barely a cell phone ring to be heard, nobody raising their voice. It's all very civilized. Why shouldn't it be, you know? 4. I hesitate to even approach the topic here, people, but, um . . . ladies' appendages are just so varied. I am wrestling with a Michael Scott reference here, and not the "ma'lady's chest" one. 5. People's lack of self-consciousness always surprises me. Okay, it shocks me. Even a perfect ten shouldn't strut around like that in a bathing suit that tiny. 6. Sometimes men are not discreet when they stare. Like at all.
We drove to the middle of nowhere tonight to try Bev Gannon's restaurant. It was worth navigating some crazy narrow roads to try the award winning chef's Hawaiian fare. This appetizer is the reason I wanted to have dinner at Hali'imaile General Store. The Sashimi Napoleon is layers of smoked salmon, Ahi tartare and sashimi ahi between won tons. You can see how beautiful it is, which makes it difficult to do what they tell you to do when they serve it. Their suggestion is to take the special knife they give you and cut up that beautiful napoleon, drizzle the wasabi vinaigrette and toss it all together. I took their advice. I am telling you that appetizer alone was worth the drive. So so fabulous. Pretty sure I will be dreaming about this tonight. Their ribs . . . yum. Well, this dessert was terrific. A lilikoi (passionfruit) creme brulee served in an almond tuille cookie with a berry fruit compote. It was beautiful and lucious. David's rustic apple tart (one of my favorite things) with vanilla bean ice cream. I am wasted. From fun.
This was today's spot. Each day it is my responsibility (to myself) to look for the most appealing and secluded spot. Preferably a spot that comes with a guarantee that there will be minimal human contact. That is my desire, which happens to be the exact opposite of my travel companion, who is now known as "The Mayor of Wailea." It is not unusual for me to cross the resort with him only to hear, "Hey, Dave, how was your tennis match this morning?" or "DAVE! Where are we meeting for scuba?". I loved the view I had today. I ordered pineapple lemonade and finished my third novel since arriving. I am relaxed. I sleep like a baby. Stress? What is that? When I got up to take this picture I couldn't see my travel companion, but I could hear him. Things that make him stand out in a crowd are statements like this:
"My son is General Manager at the Venetian" and "My granddaughter Grace is a real character." Another dead giveaway, "My wife is a gourmet cook." People . . . to perfect strangers. Alright, so he knows their names . . . This next picture I had to share. I went to my floor suite and Gigi (I know her name because my companion filled me in) asked me if I'd like a little box to take to the beach. That little box had lobster tarts, vegetarian wraps with avocado, petit fours, fruit tarts and beautiful and light French macaroons with ganache filling. There are no words. One more thing . . . I really love the Mayor.
Tonight we drove almost an hour (upcountry, as they say) to have dinner at The Plantation House. This country club sort of restaurant sits on a beautiful piece of property that was once an old pineapple plantation, and it is lush. Garden of Eden kind of lush. The view was overlooking the Pacific high on a hill. Beautiful building . . . gorgeous view of the ocean.
I had my first taste of sushi in Hawaii and it didn't disappoint. My fish entree was served Mediterranean style . . . I ordered the more firm fish selection of the night. I can't even remember the name of it. ALL the fish is great. Oh life is good.
Tonight the homemade ice cream selection on our club floor suite was pineapple sorbet. They served it with chopped pineapple and mango. This is getting to be a habit. We wait for that ice cream each night. They also served a warm pineapple cobbler, a brownie torte, snickerdoodle cookies and chocolate pecan cookies. My clothes don't fit.
And because you asked, yes, I really woke up with a fork in my bed. Sad but true.
This was the cabana we planted ourselves in for the day. This was our view . . . This was the result... We cancelled our excursion for the Road to Hana tomorrow morning. Each time we leave the hotel we ask ourselves . . . why? It's THAT unbelievable.
One more thing. My phone died today. Died as in 'only the factory can help'. It's a Palm software problem and, well, I'm in Hawaii, and I don't care. Oh the difference 2711 miles can make . . .