Happy Birthday, Honey

June 24, 2016

Today is Peter’s 18th birthday.

Big day for me, big day for Jim… even though we’re not in the same state and can’t give each other a big high five. But mostly it’s a big day for Peter. Our adult.

And because we’re all spread out, we’re not giving the occasion its due fanfare…but we will, soon as we can.

In the beautiful, tropical, sunsplashed meantime… Peter and I have our last day in Maui-he with his friends, and me with Darlene. So.. here goes:

Recall…we’d arrived at our new place, the Maui Kai, in the dark of night.. and didn’t know quite what we were dealing with. Well, after a night spent on our 9th floor lanai…



…I opened my eyes to this:


The daylight version of last night’s view goes something like this:


And looking just a bit further down the beach…


I observed that our place sort of functions as a convenient turnaround point for all the Ka’anapali beach walkers, from Black Rock north. As you get to our place, you hit the first outcropping of rocks. I noted that most walk or jog to the Maui Kai, maybe touch the railing for the stairs, then turn around and head back south. It’s a solid one-mile stretch.


This is our place as viewed from the beach. At high tide, the water laps at (noisily) and covers most of the rocks, and larger waves splash right over the wall.  Looking down from our lanai, you feel like you’re looking right over the top of the surf.


Every single room has a West-facing lanai (pretty neat). And from ours, I watched people jog up, touch that railing, then turn around and jog back south.

In fact, deciding it was going to be a beach and snorkeling day, we easily walked to the beach in front of the Westin (the boys’ place), known as Kahekili, which was only half a mile away. Here’s Darlene setting out. Black Rock is the prominent point a mile beyond.

I’m tellin’ ya.


We came, we beached, we snorkeled. Here was that view:


Didn’t need to play with the photo, but c’mon, you’re tiring of all these beach shots, right?

After a couple hours, we went in search of sustenance. On our way, we came across this fellow also seeking sustenance.. in the form of yummy lizards:


Excellent hunter with a well-honed technique. He’d pace slowly along this row of vegetation, very intent of purpose. He’d then, quicker than quick, lunge into the brush and come out as quickly with a lizard in his beak. Then he’d shimmy and wiggle and gulp it down in a single lumpy swallow. Over and over. We watched him go into the bush, let’s say, ten times, and emerged 6-7 of those times with a catch. Here is one such morsel making its way down his gullet.


Is that incredible? There had to be 6-7 squirmers in the stomach part.

(Hawaiian buddy Chuck says this common bird–a cattle egret–is a transplant, like most birds in the islands).

I liked our choice of cuisine far better: Duke’s… about two-thirds of the way between the Westin Resort and the Maui Kai.


Where we had some of this…


…and some of this…


(^ That’s nachos with pulled pork, which we ordered along with some ahi poke and crab & macadamia nut wontons.)

And then we had to swim again, because. So, it was back out to the beach…


..to plunk ourselves under a shade-giving palm.


Wet, sandy, sated. The view, as reflected in my sunglasses, Moloka’i in distance:


After a just too, too much fun in the sun, we headed back. This is the only turtle I saw on this trip:


We had only a short walk back, but this time the tide was higher, so had to time things carefully… lest we get wet. 


Had some wine and setting sun on the lanai:


THEN, it was time to take Peter out for his birthday!!

The kind gentleman at the Maui Kai front desk helped me wrap a gift.. that is, we put the Haleakala souvenir tee shirt I bought yesterday in a mailing envelope and he provided me with a set of highlighters to use for decorating the package. Made do.

I picked Peter up and we hightailed down to Lahaina.

Same sunset, an hour later!  And note fancy package.


We dropped into Fleetwood’s on Front Street to see if they had room for two. They did, but it’d be an hour, so we wandered around Lahaina, spending some time at the Banyan Tree:


Fleetwood’s was a good choice for an 18 year old.. lively, good rock music, rooftop setting with killer views, and the food.

We ordered a dinner for two… their signature Beef Wellington, prawns, scallops and lobster tail, plus potatoes and veggies. All fantastic.


Jim had given me a card for Peter to open on his 18th birthday. He opened it while we waited for dinner to arrive. He got so choked up reading it, he opted not to read the one I gave him. Said he couldn’t take two at once.

It was a lot of emotion wrapped up in that moment. For him, he was no doubt missing Jim on the occasion of his birthday. This trip was a buddy vacation, for sure, but it was also a celebration of graduation and a hurrah (not the last) before transitioning to college.  I think what probably got him in that moment were Jim’s words. They were simple, but powerful, and nailed the sentiment a kid at this stage in life most wants to hear, even if he doesn’t know it: that your parents love you, that they are proud of whom you’ve become, and that they have confidence in your future.

It made for a wonderful final evening.

It’s just hard to even process the happy.










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