You have to fly
Since G moved 6 weeks ahead of us, I had been preparing for the actual flight to Hawaii by myself with three children, a dog and all of our remaining worldly possessions (of which, embarrassingly, there were way too many ... seriously, I should have kept our passports, two outfits each and an iPad or two).
It was an overwhelming thought, and I am not usually rattled by travel with children, but the logistics weren't working in my favour. I had visions of pushing a cart with a dozen suitcases, three car seats, several carry-ons and a stroller, while GL hauled Oscar and L wrangled S ... which would be about as useful as popping them all in the cockpit and having them fly the plane. Not to mention that I had to take Oscar through an animal quarantine station in Hawaii upon arrival.
Oh, and did I mention security? Going through security with young children is a bit like herding cats ... curious, excited, and slightly confused cats. Their most beloved possessions are sent down a conveyor belt into an x-ray which shows up on a screen, and everyone has to walk through the metal detector, but they have to go alone even though up until that point in their lives you've insisted that they stay with you, and the baby is used to holding someone's hand or, at the very least, following another small person very closely. And this is all happening while you're trying to fold the stroller up small enough to jam it onto the conveyor belt because the security guard insists that it will fit, and your laptops and keys and wallets and passports are piling up at the other end with nobody to guard them except your 7 year old, who they made go through first and whose only real focus is a pigeon.
If one thing went wrong (beyond the inevitable shoes slipping off, suitcases falling, bathroom breaks at the most inopportune times, S stopping to eat a lolly off of the floor*), we probably just wouldn't make it and I'd be stuck at the airport trying to convince some unsuspecting stranger to help carry my bags or my dog or my child. Oh, to Hawaii.
S asked me one day, "but Mummy, how we get to Hawaii?" and I said "on a plane" and she asked, "but why, Mummy?" I told her, "You have to fly," and she said "Oh. But how we GET there?" It was an excellent question to which I really had no answer. On most days it seemed we never would.
At some point the anxiety became real enough that I started to consider the need to have someone travel with me. I had plenty of offers, but anyone that I would genuinely be happy to travel with, who happened to be local and didn't have young children, couldn't make it. I had a couple of people I thought to ask, but in the end I decided that ultimately we brought too much crazy and that I'd end up worrying if they were okay, too.
So the easiest thing was for G to fly back. After living without any furniture and eating off of boxes on paper plates for a few weeks, we closed on our house and had an incredibly busy but fantastic couple of days that provided the perfect farewell to DC and our most special friends. We met G at a hotel and left the next morning.
We had to fly through San Francisco so that Oscar could travel in the cabin, and of course we had an overnight layover. We were prepared for the insanity of it all, but felt like we'd won when the Virgin America guy told us that he could check our bags all the way to Honolulu. I remember that morning was the lightest I'd felt in months.
With only our carry-on bags and Oscar, we traveled as lightly and easily as is possible when you have three children and a dog. In Honolulu, Oscar cleared quarantine and our bags all arrived. It seemed like something would go wrong, but nothing did.
It was perfect. Well, "perfection" is relative. Perfect would be Fed-Exing our bags to Hawaii ahead of time (I have known people that do this!) and not having to actually fly there at all. But as it happens, to get to Hawaii you have to fly ... and as that happens, it was perfect.
* she's not actually eaten any lollies off of the floor, but it's not out of the realm ...