The election happened. As I type this, presidential votes are still being tallied with no clear winner emerging yet. You might be mad that your guy lost or relieved that he won, but in these divisive times, I would like to touch on something that we can all be universally upset about: the fact that my husband recently spent a week in Hawaii without me.
This romantic getaway (minus the romance) came courtesy of something called the All Brothers Hike. It’s a tradition that started in 2001, when my husband and his brothers went on a three-day backpacking trip around Mount Rainier. In the autumn of 2000, they started planning this hike with their adventure-loving dad.
And then that winter, tragedy struck when their dad died of a heart attack. To say his family was completely devastated would be an understatement. When summer rolled around and the much-anticipated hike drew near, the Ditto boys decided to forge ahead, hiking in honor of their dad, and hoping that as they did, their relationships with one another would grow and deepen.
And that’s exactly what has happened. Logan, his brothers and brothers-in-law (there’s seven in all) have gone on an epic outdoor adventure every year. Among other things, they’ve kayaked through the San Juan Islands, cycled in British Columbia and hiked many mountains.
They are a hard-working, hard-playing, tight-knit group doing their parents proud. Regardless of how many of them can attend, the All Brothers Hike, or ABH, as it’s affectionately called, happens no matter what – even in the face of a global pandemic.
For this 20th anniversary edition of ABH, the boys really wanted to do something special, and hiking the Napali Coast on Kauai’s North Shore was what they finally decided on. To be fair, the idea was tossed around that wives should tag along on this one, sitting on the beach and sipping fruity beverages while the boys traipsed through the jungle.
But the ladies all found one reason or another why we wouldn’t be able to go, and I don’t think the boys were too torn up about it. ABH is about their relationship with one another, not about worrying if they’ll be back in time to take their wives out to dinner.
I totally get it. If I was going on a girls trip to, say, Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas, I wouldn’t want Logan tagging along staring in disbelief at the number of cupcakes I packed down or rolling his eyes at how long I spent looking at hand-loomed kitchen towels.
So, I was happy to stay behind and keep the home fires burning while he adventured in Hawaii with his brothers backpacking for three days and then bumming around the island for a couple more (all while following local COVID-19 mandates, of course). Actually, let me amend that statement: I was happy to stay behind … until the pictures started rolling in.
There was one of Logan flashing a “hang loose” sign in front of palm trees and a gorgeous sunrise; another of him in snorkel gear with giant sea turtles waddling by. In several, he was smiling exultantly with breathtaking landscape all around him, and there were a couple of him holding gigantic cups of shaved ice that looked like they could feed our entire family.
I got a teeny bit jealous. “We’re having a great time, too,” I texted him sarcastically one night, along with a picture of my kids giving a thumbs -up next to our kitchen table, which was littered with cardboard scraps from a half-finished kindergarten craft, an abandoned game of solitaire and papers from that day’s online school circus.
The next night, he sent me a picture of him lounging on the beach, dreamily watching the waves crash in front of a brilliant sunset. “Thinking of you,” he texted. I turned my phone around and snapped a picture of myself in that moment, wearing baggy pajamas and bundled up in the blankets on our bed watching a Masterpiece Theater miniseries titled “Home Fires” on my iPad.
“Likewise,” I replied. The fun just never stops for some people. Maybe someday I’ll join them.
Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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