Today was Jack’s trip to the aquarium. Someone in this house was not very happy. Bria missed her field trip 2 weeks ago. She spent the morning voicing her feelings on the matter. There will be more on that later… We were off to learn about the reef and animal adaptions but really, isn’t it always about the bus ride?

Do you want to know about the 7 month old turtles? I could tell you about the peppermint fish. There is only one on display in the world, only 14 ever found and we got to see it. I could tell you about the lauwilinukunukuoioi fish. Try to say that three times fast. No really. Try. The haole’s just call it a butterfly fish. I could tell you that there are only about 1100 monk seals left in the world. I’ve seen two at the aquarium and been lucky enough to encounter more than a few in their natural habitat. Those boogers can dive 1800 feet. Subs have seen them! They can hold their breath for 20 minutes at a time. I didn’t know sea horses could look in two directions at the same time or that the male tilapia holds eggs and babies in his mouth. There is a lot to be told after a trip to the aquarium but none of those things are on my mind, maybe laid open in my heart right now. 

As Arleigh would say, I’ve had too many “feels” today. I love the kids at Alvah Scott. Some of them, I’ve been around for the last three years. Kimani and Jayden to name a couple… I was wondering this morning if my kids would remember their time here. Don’t get me wrong. I had a FABULOUS childhood. My memories include everything from shucking much more corn than I ever thought necessary to sucking on honeysuckle and running away through fields barefoot. I climbed an old willow tree and swung from the branches without much fear. I could walk to my grandparents’ house and had two sets of grandparents at my disposal. My childhood of riding in my Dee’s truck to my uncle’s horse shows and begging to ride the riding lawn mower was in my mind one of legend. Still, I think in another life, I must’ve lived here. My kids run barefoot through the neighborhood just like I did. They climb trees, granted here they are mostly plumeria or banyan and see how high their little legs will pump to get their swing up. Arleigh rarely has shoes on her skateboard. Bria thinks she knows how to surf but she is actually a master on a body board. Hanan makes glorious fairy houses and plays games until well past dusk with her friends. It is a charmed life they lead and they have no idea. Most of these things wouldn’t be happening unsupervised on the mainland. 

And all these things running through my mind are not the reason for all my “feels.” This picture sums it up.

All day long, when we lined up, Will made sure Jack kept up. If he wasn’t, Will quietly grabbed his hands and made a train. As the day ended and Jack was falling a bit more behind, Will tried to give him a piggy back ride. All the kids here, love Jack. They rally around him. They encourage him. They push him to do better, even if he gets frustrated and yells. One little boy gave him a tract today about God because he just really wants Jack to understand God and since the website on the tract had a Mandarin option, he thought that might work better. Bless him. Jack played duck duck goose today like a normal kid. (It became turtle, turtle sea lion but that’s another story.) He didn’t always understand but his friends kindly made sure he was never left behind and that he was having a good time. 

As we climbed the bus for the ride back to the school I couldn’t help but wonder what it will be like for Jack when we move. I can’t imagine children being this kind and this compassionate anywhere else. Don’t get me wrong. There are mean kids in middle school but my heavens there was a higher percentage of mean kids in elementary school in TN. Most of these kids don’t have much but they have love and they freely share it. It’s truly the spirit of aloha and it’s filled my eyes with freakin’ buckets of tears all day long to wonder what it will be like to go back to a land of entitled kids who maybe aren’t mean but are super concerned with their own well being and don’t think much about anyone else and heaven help me I don’t want my kids to be like that. I’d rather park my butt in the land of aloha. 

I’m prayerfully hoping that our next duty station will be just as wonderful but my expectations are sure low today. This is where we needed to be for the time we were here and it was pretty apparent to me today. (Look, more feels. Sigh…) Jack learned to speak here. He started to communicate here. We found a wonderful eye doctor who fixed his pitiful little googly eyes. Jack is asserting his independence here. He’s boosting his confidence here. He is growing in aloha. 

It’s not just Jack. Remember Bria. Yeah, she was sad. She missed her field trip because she was unfortunately enough yacking up a disgusting amount of stomach contents that I didn’t want to share with her classmates or the fish at the aquarium. Never mind we went to the aquarium as a family over spring break. My child decided she had a rash while I was gone. She went to see the nurse. Miss Burke heard that Bria was out of sorts and let her hang out for a bit since no one was there. She talked to her, loved on her and sent her back to class. Then there was lunch and Bria came back with a tummy ache. Miss Burke again knew Bria’s problem wasn’t exactly her tummy. She left messages for me and Ray just before I arrived back at the school. I went to see my girl, gave her a hug and all was right with the world again. Her teacher fussed over her little broken heart all day. Miss Burke did too. I wonder if everyone that works at our new school will be as patient with the persistence my daughter has? Heaven knows I’m not always.

Hanan’s teacher has recognized her effort this year. She’s buoyed her up and pushed her to be better and told her she’s writing a letter for her record before we leave. Arleigh’s band teacher has offered to contact her high school band and do whatever is necessary for the her. The best thing that happened today was from Mr. Arnie. He’s Jack’s aid. He loves Jack and Jack loves him and it sort of spreads over our whole little family. Mr. Arnie handed me a box at school today. He said he didn’t know when our pack out would start. He hand made four bowls for the kids’ cereal and 2 coffee cups for us. He made sure they were green so we could remember Aiea. Shoot! Those darn feels are puddling again. I know how many days we have left. I know that I will cherish all these special people forever and darn it, I don’t want to give it up for any of us. 

And yet, we’re obviously needed somewhere else. There are other memories to be made and someday I’ll know the reason we have to leave. Until then, I plan on soaking up every last drop of aloha that I can get so that maybe we can spread it around on the mainland. 

I’m off to deal with the darn feels. Sending you aloha my friends.