It’s strange and surreal to watch your children relive your childhood. Inevitably the memories come rushing back, but I am finding that they are not the factual kind of memories at all.
In other words, I don’t remember how old I was when my Grandma taught us to dance the hula, but I can still feel her hands lifting my wrist into the correct position.
I can’t mark the exact dates we went to Bellows Beach to camp out, but my eyes sting when I think about long days spent body surfing in the salty ocean water.
Of course I could never tell you how many trips we made to Chinatown to buy leis for special occasions, but I can hear the busy-ness of the Chinatown market ringing in my ears and I can smell the jasmine and ginger in Cindy’s lei shop on Mauna Kea Street.
Watching the kids make these same memories is reminding me of what a rich experience it is to grow up in Hawaii Nei. I wonder how I ever lived this long without recognizing that gift? I wonder if I’ll ever know the depths of influence these memories have in every moment that I live my life far away from the islands?
As I watch my kids run from tidepool to tidepool holding up their treasures with looks of wonder on their faces, I can remember the scrape of the rocks on my bare feet and taste of fish cooked on the grill straight out of the ocean.
I wonder if they’ll remember.