“Yyeeeaaahh!!!” exclaimed my son when asked if he wanted to go to the park today. Now that Hawaiʻi offers the Covid-19 vaccines to all over the age of twelve, life has begun to feel a little more “normal” in the islands. We plan to still exercise caution, but decided to take our two-year-old son to more of his favorite spots. The local park is definitely his number one choice.
When we pulled into the parking stall he was so excited he lifted his arms up and started his gibberish toddler talk: “Yeeeaaahh! Weee! Ooohhh!” And then tried to unbuckle himself from his car seat, fingers desperately fumbling to free himself from the straps.
After we put his slippers on and walked into the park, he immediately did a sprint straight through the green field laughing and giggling as much as his tiny feet and legs would allow him. At the center of the field he tripped and landed flat on his stomach as if sliding into home plate at a baseball game. At first we thought he was going to cry, instead he began to laugh and roll around in the grass, while throwing a few blades of grass into the air, which looked like confetti.
As my husband and I approached him, he gave a huge smile, got up and started to run, encouraging us to chase him. At that moment, I thought, “how lucky I am to spend a carefree day with my family, especially on a Monday.” Any other week, it would have been the grueling start to the work week. Thankful to be employed, but at the same time, anxiously awaiting the weekend.
I then reflected on the meaning of this Monday, Memorial Day, and how indebted we are to all of the fallen military service members who sacrificed their lives, so we could enjoy ours. How just being able to make a choice to go to the park with my family, is a gift in and of itself.
It reminded me of my two late Grandfathers, veterans from World War II and the Korean War, and how their choices have made it possible for me to be a mother and a wife in a beautiful place like Hawaiʻi.
At this thought, my son ran straight into me and gave me a huge hug, held my hand and started to pull me towards one of his favorites, the playground. I smiled, gave him a hug and told him, “let’s run!”
After a fun-filled day at the park, as soon as we returned home and got my son all settled, on his own, he grabbed his “blankey” and went straight to bed for his afternoon nap. Normally this can a be struggle because he wants to keep playing, but today he was completely content and happy. Before I left the room, he reached for my hand and smiled before he closed his eyes. It melted my heart and reminded me of why I wanted to become his mom in the first place.
It may not have been an extravagant trip to the zoo or the beach, but it was perfect because it was exactly what we all needed, quality time. Hope this will be a reminder to you to appreciate the little things, especially on this big holiday. Aloha 🌺