Back to the present. On Christmas morning our kids opened a strange package with a plastic whale, leis and a guide book. Grace was immediatley thrilled when she figured it out but Cameron's face fell. Lesson number #1: your 15 yr. old son may not be happy to leave his first girlfriend for a week when they have plans for New Year's Eve. I was beginning to wonder if there was some sort of curse over us going to Hawaii but by the afternoon he allowed himself to perk up.
Indeed by the time we got to Maui, both kids were excited and having fun. Still, my son did text his girlfriend over 200 times a day but managed not to be obnoxious about it. (Lesson for you with younger kids: don't ever consider anything but unlimited texting plans.)
One day we drove to the top of Haleakala, a dormant volcano, to hike and see the views. Lesson #2: when a friend who has been to Haleakala in November tells you it will be cold at the top, listen to him, because it will still be cold in December and probably all year round. We thought that since we'd be at the top in the afternoon, the day would have warmed up. Very wrong. We were all wearing shorts and sweatshirts but the wind is wicked at 10,000 feet and you are above the clouds. We weren't going to miss exploring the volcano just because we were cold so we set out to hike a ways into the crater. Going down was not bad; after we got past the edge, the wind seemed less severe and the view was amazing. It was like being on Mars. Then the time came to turn around and hike out. Lesson #3: hiking at 10,000 feet is not for sissies. Almost immediately my chest began to hurt. Badly. I was going to die. The air is very different at 10,000 feet than it is at sea level where I live. The wind was now blowing in my face and my ears started hurting, despite my hood. To make matters worse, my nose began to run and I had no kleenex. Great. I was going to die up here and when the rescuers found me, I'd have a snotty face and dirty shoes and ankles from all the dust on the trail. Not the way I pictured my last moments at all. So I wiped my nose on my sleeve. It was that or drip. Lesson #4: a good mother carries kleenex and water when hiking; they come in handy. Of course, my children were not suffering at all. My daughter was bounding up the trail like a mountain goat, my son not far behind. I hated them at that moment for not suffering with me.
Maui really is a beautiful place and we did enjoy ourselves. We went whale watching, snorkeling and to a luau where we ate poi and squid. We ate great fish every day and even some of the best Mexican food I've ever had. Strange that I have to go to Hawaii for great Mexican but as a foodie, I seek out good food where ever it is to be found. Our last lesson: it is possible to have a great time with your teen aged children.
Having a great time with our kids - priceless