We somehow tricked the boy into believing that we were taking him on a Hawaiian vacation for his birthday and not for our own selfish reasons, even though spring break is at the end of March and his birthday isn’t until May. How long are these kids going to be such gullible suckers? Tom loves Hawaii and would go at the drop of a hat, and I was happy to use any excuse to get the boy to accept a family vacation in lieu of a birthday party. We had enjoyed a beach vacation in Puerto Vallarta not too long ago and I was hesitant to book another beach vacation so soon. It seemed gratuitous, and I prefer metropolitan cityscapes anyway. After a couple of bone-chilling cold spells in February and March, however, we were ready to embrace the tropics, and Maui did not disappoint.
The first time Tom and I went to Maui in 2009 we took along my mom, Tom’s dad, and our baby girl, a 9 month old infant at the time. One of the major sightseeing attractions of Maui is the Road to Hana, a 30 mile stretch of narrow, winding mountain highway. You have to wake up ridiculously early and devote at least 12 hours to the many stops along the way, neither of which we did when we attempted the Road to Hana with our parents. We never reached Hana in that first attempt. My mom was sick so she stayed behind in the car while Tom, his dad, and I fumbled our way through the jungle in search of Maui’s famous waterfalls. We chased the sound of rushing water but were woefully inept at discovering Hana’s hidden treasures.
Fast forward to 2018, and I know better now. We hired a private tour guide to drive us along the Road to Hana and point out all of the worthwhile stops. We started the guided tour at 6:30 A.M. and got our fill of waterfalls and beautiful beaches (with sand colors ranging from black to gray to red to powdery soft white) in the 12 hours that followed. I’ve taken over travel planning in recent years which is why we have better vacations now. I’ve also taken over photography duties from Tom which is why our family photos are so much better now too.
We also did a morning snorkeling tour earlier in the week and saw multiple coral formations along Molokini. I kept hoping the kids would enjoy snorkeling as much as Tom and I did, but they didn’t, which made me enjoy it less as well. As much as I bluster about being selfish and self-centered, my happiness is completely dependent on my kids’ happiness. Being little more than skin and bones, the kids couldn’t stop shivering in the ocean water and were always eager to hurry back to the boat. I was bummed when they opted to skip a couple of the stops. On the last stop, the boy finally acclimated to the water and stopped shivering long enough to enjoy exploring the coral reef. Coincidentally, I had the most fun at the last stop and felt like it was the best one. There is nothing that makes your heart smile quite like your child’s smile. Despite the shivers it was a fun excursion, and we got to glimpse whales, dolphins, and sea turtles from the boat. And even though they had spent all morning in the ocean, the kids went straight into the hotel pool after lunch and stayed there until sunset. After ten consecutive hours in the water, the kids begged for a bath before bedtime. They must be part amphibian.
The kids’ love for all things aquatic didn’t end with swimming; they chowed down on shellfish, sushi, and fresh seafood like nobody’s business. When we were at a local hot spot and asked if they preferred a chicken or fish dish, they picked fished without hesitation. We had to find a crab boil joint pursuant to the girl’s request. During our fancy sushi dinner at Morimoto’s, we had to fend off our children from devouring the best pieces of sushi before we’d had a chance to eat. These kids have excellent (and expensive) taste when it comes to food, just like their mother. At Mama’s Fish House, the girl ordered the priciest item on the menu — fresh caught lobster tail. Mama’s Fish House is a Maui institution and we got a nostalgic kick out of returning there with our nine year old daughter and showing her pictures of when we took her there as a baby. At the time we were celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary and the boy hadn’t been born yet, but there’s a possibility that he was there too because he suspiciously showed up nine months after that trip. For that reason among many others, Maui will always occupy a special place in our hearts and I have a feeling we’ll be returning often.
Maui in 2018:
Maui in 2009: