"OH MY GOSH, Wyatt! Why are you following me around?"
"Because I love you."
"I love you, too," I said.
I was rushing around that morning, realizing that somehow, nothing was ready, and finding that even with direct instruction, the kid was not getting it done. His response was the best reality check ever. It won't be much longer before I'm trailing Wyatt just because I love him and not to make sure he has selected the proper footwear.
"Hey, I'm sorry I asked why you were following me. It was a really dumb question to ask. I was feeling stressed out, and I think that's why I said it. Did you feel bad after I said it?"
"Well, yeah, kind of. I mean, I don't KNOW why I was following you. I just was. Because I love you."
"Of course," I said, "I'm really sorry."
"It's okay..." he trailed off as he focused on finishing the surprisingly difficult task of making his sandwich for lunch. Then he said, "You said you'd read me the story about the bunny before school. Do we have time?"
We didn't really have time, but I read it to him anyway. As we headed off to school, he responded to my "Put on your sneakers...you have games today!" by putting on his hiking boots. When I asked him about it, he was totally bewildered. On the way to school, we hit traffic, and he was late. And you know what? It was just fine.
I can't even believe this kid is seven now. We celebrated his birthday during a mini-vacation in Hawaii. We mostly spent time at the beach, but on Earth Day, we volunteered at Waimea Valley. I know--nothing says loving Mother Earth like flying 3,000ish miles. Anyway. We started the day learning about the cultural significance of Waimea Valley and then pulled weeds along the trail with other families. Later, while waiting out a rain shower (and seeing who won the raffle prizes) I learned about JustServe from a local woman sitting next to me. Apparently, it started in California and is a terrific resource for finding nearby volunteer opportunities. She said that when her kids are starting to act too selfishly, she logs on and finds a service project for the family to do. My kind of mom.
During the afternoon, we explored the valley. Wyatt cajoled me into going swimming in the raging waterfall at the end of one of the trails. The experience was worth it, and Wyatt would have spent the entire day in there. He was so furious when I made him get out so we could hike back that we have no photos of us right out of the falls. But I got some on the hike back.
We also visited Green World Coffee Farm. We had so many questions for their master roaster, and he had all the answers. Can you believe he roasts 400 pounds of coffee on a normal day, and closer to 800 during the Christmas season? It smelled heavenly in there.
And on the last day, we saw a monk seal that decided to take a nap on the beach. The volunteer who was dispatched to look after the seal gave us all kinds of fun facts about him and all his local relatives. She even had a vial of monk seal poop with her. (I know you're wondering: it looked like lumps of chalk.)
On Wyatt's actual birthday, we had shave ice, we snorkeled, and he paddled endlessly around on a boogie board. One of the best parts for everyone about being 7 is playing by yourself in the water (most of the time) while your parents lounge on the beach.