This morning, Day 1, Mike was up and out of the condo by 5 am. He has been waiting to explore all that Pearl Harbor has to offer since I don’t know when. Meanwhile, knowing that Casey would never be in any possible shape or mood to get to the entrance of Pearl Harbor two hours prior to opening, wait in line for the ferry to see the memorial, then explore the museum and other parts of the exhibit ad nauseum, (actually none of us were up for that!) I had hoped to see Diamond Head National Park and hike up to its observation point. I knew it would take some coaxing to get my girl up there but I truly thought she could do it. We had even discussed it with one of her doctors who knew her AND Diamond Head very well, having grown up here herself. Let me just say… it is tougher than it looks! She did make it up to the top and I am so very very proud of her for getting there. It took a lot for her to accomplish that and I know she is proud of herself for it, now that she has recovered from the toll it took on her, both physically and mentally. She gets tired easily, gets hot easily and gets motion sick easily. Not usually a good combo for travelling. But, she is a tough little Bird and doesn’t usually complain. That said, it still takes quite a bit of extra planning and patience to make the most of vacations like this one. I am used to giving her specific instructions and details in preparation of a new activity or change in plans. I am not used to slowing down, taking lots of breaks and giving LOTs of encouragement, especially all at the same time. Lucky for me, Casey made sure I took away a few lessons from Diamond Head.
Things I learned while hiking with Casey to the top of Diamond Head today:
1) Its ok to slow down and take your time. I am so used to rushing around all the time at home that at first this was hard for me. It doesn’t help that this trail can get narrow and there were LOTS of people coming and going. So it was easy to feel rushed. But people were kind and patient as we let them pass when we could. We all know that slowing down generally makes it easier to check out your surroundings. However, I learned that it’s just a wee bit difficult to enjoy the landscape when you are mostly looking down at your daughter’s feet and holding her hand awkwardly so as to ensure her footing while simultaneously trying to stay behind her so that people could pass. Nevertheless, even though we took our time, we still made it to the top. Not having feeling rushed made the trip that much more enjoyable.
2) Encouragement can go a long way. I am guilty of near verbal abuse when she is taking her sweet time to put her shoes on and I am trying to get her into the car because we want to beat the traffic or we are late for an appointment. But today, I decided that I would say nothing but positive reinforcement along the trail. I do think it helped get her about 70% of the way.
3) It’s also ok to ask for help when you need to. We made it through the narrow, 225 foot tunnel only to be met with about 100 more feet of vertical that needed to be climbed via man made stairs to get to the top bunker. I thought Casey might light herself on fire at that point but I anticipated that and was ready to bring in the reinforcements. That was when we facetimed her best friend in Tulsa (whose mom also happens to be my best friend and knows what Casey needs when). These girls got Casey to go for the final push with their oohs and ahhs over the view and how far she had come. Paige made her promise to face time her again when she got to the top. I knew then that she would do it, because by gosh, Casey keeps her promise!
4) Never underestimate or forget the blessing of a sweet sibling relationship. I cannot say enough about how patient Dan was with her today. I know he was itching to get to the top and I offered many times to let him go ahead and enjoy the summit for a while. He didn’t take me up on that offer until the very very end when Casey veered off a bit from the observation deck to go to the shaded bunker underneath. He encouraged her and helped her with her water and waited patiently the entire time. Having a sibling probably helped Casey a lot today, but it most definitely helped me, knowing that he was willing to be there for his sister. As a mom who worries about what will happen to her daughter after she is gone, today’s witnessing of the relationship these two have gave me lots of hope and comfort for my girl’s future.
5) Sometimes it’s ok to use bribery. There are times when you just have to use what is around you. In this case, it was a Shave Ice stand at the park entrance. There is nothing more refreshing than a Strawberry Shave Ice after a tough hike in the Hawaiian sun.