17 April 2011

Things That Are True - Life Moments

I am so very lucky - I've had the opportunity to visit Oahu many times. Having family who live here has made it a default warm weather destination all my life. So I have my favourite burger place in Hale'iwa, my favourite hole in the wall noodle joint in Chinatown, the best places to pick up a bathing suit and flip flops without paying Waikiki tourist prices. I know that if you want to snorkel Hanauma Bay you're better to get there early and leave by lunch. I know that it's a good idea to have a small flashlight with you to hike Diamond Head. I know Long's has the best prices for macadamia nuts to bring home, and that one of the best places to get leis is actually Safeway.

And I know about chocolate haupia pie from Ted's Bakery. Mmmm. Chocolate haupia pie.

But I've never visited with a child before.

Our first day here we hit the beach at Waikiki. The Imp was running all over the place, taking it all in. He was desperate to go surfing, trying to convince us that he needed a surfboard. He spent most of his time running from one surf rental spot to another, sure that we'd give in. And we might've except for one small thing: he refused to go into the water.

Problematic, that.

As he put it himself, "The waves freak me out, Mommy."

And fair enough. Waves - even the small ones at Waikiki - are surprisingly loud when they crash onshore. And when you're only three feet tall, they must look pretty big. I can see how that could be intimidating. After the first time the water washed over his toes, he wouldn't go anywhere near it. So I held him in my arms, and I went and stood at the high water mark, and let him watch as the waves washed over my feet. We got to the point where he could stand it if the waves occasionally came up to my thighs and nipped at his toes, but that was it. He so desperately wanted to be surfing, yet wouldn't go near the one thing you need to surf.

HWSNBN and I decided that if we could get him to go into the water by the end of our holiday, we'd call it a win.

Yesterday we went to one of my favourite spots on Oahu: Kailua Beach Park. It's small, less crowded, not really on the way to anywhere else so not as high on tourist lists of Things To See. The park has lots of old ironwood trees, plenty of grassy areas to play and picnic, and it's a lovely little sheltered bay. The water is that mythical colour of blue you only ever see in vacation brochures. And on a calm day, the waves are very gentle.

We dropped our stuff, spread out our towels, and HWSNBN took The Imp down to the water's edge while I slathered sunscreen all over myself. By the time I looked up, they were waist deep in the water. By the time I joined them, I had to run and get the camera because they were in all the way.

The smile pretty much says everything you need to know.

And then, and then... We were playing in the water, splashing and jumping and doing all the silly things parents do to make their children laugh, and The Imp spotted a local man with a surfboard, floating lazily nearby. The man noticed The Imp's interest, and was kind enough to offer, "You wanna try it?"

The Imp couldn't get there fast enough. He clambered onto the board as if he'd been doing it all his life, got up on his knees, and sprang to his feet. The look of triumph and unbridled joy on his face as he stood on the board, wind in his hair - it brings tears to my eyes just to write here about it.

I haven't thought too much about a Top Ten Moments of My Life list. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few: seeing the ballet in Paris, the sun rise from the top of Haleakala, the look on HWSNBN's face as I walked down the aisle on our wedding day.

The Imp on a surfboard in Kailua Bay has easily muscled its way into my top three.

On day one we couldn't get The Imp into the water. On day two, we couldn't get him out of it. Today's day three - I suspect at least part of it will involve shopping for The Imp's new boogie board.


  1. Girl - you are making us all tear up reading this.

  2. Ah! the memories! Kailua Beach is really nice! We had a kayak and seen some really big turtles and you are right the water is really blue! one of our favorite places to stay is pillows in paradise.

    Nice Blog

  3. That's so fantastic! I hope you had / have a camera ready!

  4. That grin on the Imp's face says it all! How fun!

  5. Oh I love Kailua Beach. Love it. (Although I have a personal affinity for the black sands on the big island :)). And I remember Hanauma Bay when you didn't have to get there early and leave early. :sigh:

  6. Oh, the sweetness!

    I clearly need to go back to Hawaii. CLEARLY.