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When David was just a baby, and I was struggling (physically and mentally) with nursing, I made a deal with myself: If we get through this battle, we’ll celebrate in Hawaii when David turns ten.

Fast forward: Mike and I turned forty, David is ten and we just got back from our 40-40-10 trip to Maui! It was epic and packed with adventures but, in full disclosure, here are the ten things you did not see on Instagram:

  1. Gas station dining: On the first night we were tired and jet-lagged (it’s a long journey and a 7-hour time change). We needed sleep and food – without knowing the area around the hotel, it was a gas station dining at its finest.
  2. Sunburnt on day 1: I researched reef-friendly sunscreens and came prepared but what we quickly learned is that we northern folk require a thick coat of sunscreen even when in the water. On the first full day, we got excited and jumped in the ocean unprepared (no sunscreen or rashguards on our backs). It only took a few minutes to realize our mistake… and I now own a lovely souvenir rashguard.
  3. The parking lot fail: We arrived kind of late for a hike (which was already stressing me out – the guidebook said to be there early!) and when we pulled up to the parking lot, a hiker-dude told us the lot was full. Without checking it out for ourselves, we drove a mile down the HILL to the overflow parking lot and hiked back up to the start. Halfway into the actual uphill hike, we passed the dude and all of his friends who apparently had no problem parking. We were the only dummies in the overflow and as Mike kept reminding me, I had to let it go. I have a hard time letting things go.
  4. YouTube and mall arcades are just as good as exploring: As amazing as a day in Hawaii can be… YouTube is just as cool (according to David).
  5. Death of the Garmin: My watch does not like the ocean. Damnnnn. It is still alive, but barely. I managed to get in my runs but the watch struggled more than me in the heat.
  6. Sunscreen beach battle: You’d think, after learning our lesson on Day 1, we’d all understand the importance of proper sunscreen application but nope, it’s still a big deal when you’re ten to take the time to slather your face with sunscreen.
  7. The “jellyfish”: Anyone who’s traveled with me knows I am not great at chilling (which is why I’ve never been to a southern island before). I like lists, I like plans and we went hard the first few days checking off so many amazing sights. By day five we were all toast, David was exhausted (sunstroke), so we simmered down and had a lazy morning. When we finally got to a beach, David went in and then came out in less than ten minutes complaining that he got stung by something. I never saw a jellyfish the whole time in Hawaii but there were others on the beach saying they were stung as well. Regardless, David was sure he was going to die. We left the beach and found some spray. Crisis diverted.
  8. The car incident: Maui roads are crazy y’all. We were warned about the Road to Hana: so beautiful but so insane. Nothing more exhilarating than driving around a cliff on bumpy roads without guardrails! And then there was the climb up and down (at night) from Haleakala National Park that made me want to vomit but the stretch between Waihee and Poelua Bay was terrifying! Two-way traffic on a one-lane road up and down cliffs, switchback after switchback. There was one point where we had to reverse back to a lookoff so on-coming traffic could pass. As we were coming around one corner, two cars coming our way squeezed pass forcing us to come way too close to the guardrail. On a positive note, at least our car scraped a guardrail rather than plummeting down the cliff!
  9. Whinny hikes and long drives: David is an excellent traveler. Mostly. He also has a lot of endurance, Mostly. But that doesn’t stop him from whining on hikes. Usually, it’s just the first few kilometers and then he’s okay. Give him a waterfall or river to jump in, and he’s happy but I quickly realized we were not going to be tackling anything more than five miles.
  10. Poor planning and fancy dining: I accidentally made a reservation at a restaurant on a wrong day. We set out on the road to Hana early and I figured nine hours would be plenty of time to see everything and make it to our six o’clock dinner reservation on the way home from Hana. At the last stop, I was barking at Mike and David to get out of the water and get in the car. We showed up to the ‘general store’ looking gross and sweaty only to realize it was way fancier than the name indicated. Oh well, the food was great and other people were dressed casually too. (10b. David didn’t eat his dinner but he drank a glass of chocolate milk and behaved well because we promised him $10 at the arcade if he was good while we enjoyed our meal).

All three of us had our moments but we also had a great time together. I can’t imagine going on this adventure without David – seeing things through the eyes of a child is a good reminder that life is more fun under the waterfall than just taking a picture of it.

PS. On the last day, before our evening flight out, we went to Toy Story 4 and ate at IHOP. I hate IHOP.