Most of Kauai is behind me. At the foot of the Pacific Ocean, I sit close to a small wedding party. The ukulele player is plugged into an outlet on our lanai; because of this, we are invited to the party. Thanks, we nod, although neither of us want to, and probably won't, attend. Kindness, certainly, deserves more. Why don't I know how to politely decline graciousness? Say no? Instead, I shrug with ambiguity, smile, proclaim thanks, and prove a no-show. I don't think I was raised this way. Both my parents, for different reasons, would have gone. My father to enjoy the toast; my mother the people. Perhaps that's why I'm unable to considerately demur such thoughtful spontaneity. My parents would never have done so.
Tonight, my mother sits 6000 miles away from me; my father's ashes swim the seas. And I'm nearing 40. Still, my parents come. A mother's ear, a father's heart, forever trained to the call of their daughter. Show me what I need to know. My father, not frightened by death, nor my mother by distance, arrive knowing I will never be exactly like them-- they raised me with too much independence for that; yet I take what they give, shape it into my own, become more of who I am.
The wedding party is surprisingly quiet. The uke player, now on guitar, strums his way through Margaritaville with jumbled lyrics. No matter. The palm trees sway with the song anyway, holding the music close before pushing it gently out to sea-- a jumbled number, in harmony with the world. Cradled by the trade winds, it slips quickly over the ocean. Gone, but not lost; for the well-trained ear, the prepared heart, always hears the call of its own.
Mahalo Mom and Dad.