Taking What You Can Get


Our last day in Kauai. *Sigh*

In just a matter of hours, we would board a plane and fly home to California. This would be the last chance to see the sun set over Hanalei Bay for some time. I stopped to soak up the beauty in front of me.

Though if I’m honest, it was little hard to ignore my kids’ shrieking and my wife’s “come here now” look from the van twenty feet away.

Our vacation in Kauai had been one adventure after another. My own family of four teamed up with Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie to spend a little over a week in paradise. We had visited once before, and so we made the most of our time by exploring new tropical nooks and return to favorite beaches. And shaved ice shacks. And this place. Knowing the lay of the land made me certain that I’d have ample opportunity to snap some seaside sunsets.

And I was certainly wrong.

Each day and night flew by faster than I realized, thanks to the needs and galactic distracting power of not one, but two children. I’m talking about extra trips to the bathroom at restaurants. Other times, it was colossal meltdowns fueled by missed naps and jet lag. Or it could be prolonged and sandy diaper changes on the beach. For every trying moment, there were a hundred precious moments filled with swimming lessons, amazement at seashells, and laughter in the waves.

After all, our family had grown by one precious and active little boy since last we had visited. With all the energy we poured into the kids, it meant that we were spent by the time the sun chased daylight past the horizon. We were lucky if we could keep our eyes open to watch a movie back at the condo. All this was continued initiation into the changing rhythms of parenthood.

And so it hit me as the trip neared its conclusion: I’d need to keep my camera handy during our adventures to capture moments as they came. I couldn’t assume I’d have the chutzpah or the luxury of alone time to journey out to chase sunsets at the end of the day.

So with an SD card full of photos and not a sunset to show for it, my time was running low … until a drive up Kuhio Highway near Hanalei Bay revealed a stunning sunset in the making. I convinced the family to stop our van on the side of the road to snap a few family portraits that looked about like this:


When the kids finally disintegrated into tears at the thought of smiling for the camera, my wife took them to the car to cool down. I took the opportunity to point my camera off into the distance, toward the dramatic cloudscape that was so foreign to me and yet so common to this Kauai rainforests. I snapped photos until I could tell that my wife could handle no further screaming. She’d done her bit.

I hopped behind the steering wheel with a smile, grateful to have seen a stretch of earth that echoed a bit of God’s landscaping in the Garden of Eden. Now, I had no clue if the sunset photo would turn out well in the end, but I knew that I had to take what I could get.

Whatever the case, I could head home knowing that we’d had a wonderful time together. And thankfully, my Kauai sunset turned out just fine.

Hang this photo on your wall

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Where was the most dramatic sunset you’ve witnessed? Share your secrets in the comments below!