Christmas music is playing, it's cold and gray outside, and I am untangling Christmas lights. But my heart is still in Hawaii. So hard to believe a week ago today, I was standing barefoot in the sand on Wailea Beach in Maui, surveying a three-foot tall sand castle just completed by my grandkids Josh and Amanda and their Daddy. Their absolute delight when Daddy discovered a live crab in the sand as we dug, makes me smile just thinking about it.
There's something about discovering a new place with a four and a six-year-old that brings life into full and living color. One sunny morning during our stay, we took a boat cruise out to snorkel with the Honu, the giant sea turtles. I will never forget the yelp of pure joy when almost 6 year-old Amanda Rose came nose-to-nose with a turtle bigger than herself. She pulled her head out of the water, and couldn't stop giggling with sheer delight. She quickly put her face back in and she and I enjoyed several mystical minutes as we floated serenely along next to Honu, who did not seem to have read the snorkeling rules about no physical contact between humans and sea life. Honu very much wanted to be friends with Amanda and me, but we did keep a few inches between us for the most part.
It was an experience I won't forget, one of many during those joyful 12 days in Hawaii.
I hold these memories in my heart, treasures to journal, to relive again and again as I write my stories for children.
This is one of the great delights of writing; every experience can be relived and shared with others.
And now I'll go back to untangling lights and stringing them on every bush and tree I can reach. Time to leave Hawaii, at least for awhile, and begin to live into the joys of Christmas.
May you all have the joy of discovering Honu with an astounded grandchild--or stringing brightly colored Christmas lights for others to see, and to smile.