If you ever have the chance to spend Christmas in Hawaii, do it…you won’t regret it. We’ve been fortunate to be in Honolulu these past 4 years for the holidays basking in the tropical breeze and warm sunny rays while most of the U.S. shovels snow. I don’t think Laird realizes just how lucky he is to be running around a swimming pool naked or having melted shave ice drip down his shirt in December.
We flew out of chilly Portland two days before Christmas and have done nothing since arriving but soak in all that is beautiful about Hawaii. With each passing year our little guy is figuring out more and more about this special holiday. And this year he seemed to begin to somewhat understand the concept of Jesus’ birthday, a decorated tree and presents.–as much as a 2-year old can, anyway.
While in Hawaii, we went back to visit places we hadn’t been to in a long time. The day after Christmas my family flew to Hilo on the Big Island. We stayed within Volcanoes National Park for four days in a tiny 3-bedroom cabin, equipped with kitchen and cozy fireplace. While on the Big Isle we swam in some warm springs next to the ocean, visited a cattle ranch where we rode horses, and walked across a volcano crater. In between these activities, Laird and his older cousins entertained themselves by wrestling in the cabin, jumping off the back of the couch, playing soccer/kickball and making smores by the fireplace.
One highlight of the trip was Laird coming to the realization that there are some exceptions to going potty in the toilet. While swimming in the ocean he told me anxiously, “Mommy, I have to go potty.” Amazed by his innocence and wanting to obey every rule, I looked at him and said, “Laird, you can go potty in the ocean. It’s okay.” He looked back at me with relief and surprise, as if to say, “Really? I don’t have to go in the toilet.” He was quiet for a few seconds and then said, “Mommy, I went potty in the ocean!” Well, you don’t have to scream it.
With our second little one due just weeks away, Curt and I decided to give Laird a little vacation from us and took off to Maui for a week. Staying in upcountry with my Uncle and Aunty, we made little day trips down Haleakala to the beach towns of Wailea, Kapalua and Paia. For a week we did nothing but eat, sleep, lay on the beach looking for humpback whales, apply sunscreen and contemplate whether we could live in a beautiful paradise like this or not. Why this is even an area of contemplation is beyond me…
When we returned to Oahu we were greeted by more family from the mainland to celebrate and remember the life of my uncle George, whom we recently visited in California and who lost his lengthy battle with cancer just the day before Christmas. Although it was a sad realization that he would no longer be with us, I also felt a sense of relief for him, knowing that his body was finally free from cancer and free from pain. In the days surrounding his burial, our families in Hawaii and California reconnected and used his passing to bring us all closer together. He is definitely missed, but I believe we are all at peace knowing that his spirit lives on and his body no longer suffers in pain.
After we arrived in Portland, I could tell Lairdy missed all of his cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents, yet was happy to have all the attention to himself again. I asked, “Laird, where do you want to live? Portland or Hawaii.” And twice he responded, “I want to live in Hawaii.” I think it’s because of the shave ice.