Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

The summer ended with quite a bang here. After summer school ended, we took a family vacation (Diana, my husband, my mom and me) to Oahu. It was stressful. She was really amazing for most of the trip; I think I had more meltdowns than she did. As much as she loves to sit on a beach, however, the rest of us wanted to see the island. Honestly, I think she would have been happier to stay home, although she did enjoy the helicopter flight over the volcano. She says she doesn't want to go back, and my husband and I are content to return to the islands as a duo. (As we have once before, to Maui, in '07.)

Shortly after getting back home, school started, then her 16th birthday was yesterday. So a quietly boring summer ended with a lot of running around and stress. Better to get it all out of the way at once?

I'm sorry she didn't have more fun when we went to Oahu. I feared that it would be that way, but I really hoped she'd enjoy things more. I know what's she's like, though, know what she wants/needs, and apparently expected a miracle. She did enjoy the beaches, and the pool, and the helicopter, and even the flying. The airports, the walking, the sightseeing... not so much.

at Punalu'u Beach Park on the windward coast of Oahu

Was it fair of us to try to expand her horizons? There's been talk from other bloggers lately about pushing our kids, rather than letting them get to where they need to be on their own. My thinking is that she needs to be challenged to try new things, because she never would otherwise. In this particular instance, it's not like we go to Hawaii every few months. This was a big trip, one that required a lot of planning and coordinating and money. This was more of an experiment, I think. Now we know: Hawai'i is not for her. (Suspicions confirmed.)

With school starting, there's the option for extra-curricular sports again. Bowling, without a doubt. She enjoyed that, and since it's not cooperative play, it's almost not really even like a team sport. Basketball... I think she should do it again. A lot of the older kids are friends, and I think she could learn to be more social than she is. So, yes, I'm pushing her, "for her own good," in a way that other writers seem to think is wrong-headed.

standing alone during a tournament game January '13

I want her to develop friendships with other kids who understand her better, and I want her to be more physical. And taking her to basketball practice and encouraging her to participate really is for her sake and not mine. (I don't particularly care for basketball or bowling, and if I were being selfish, there's other things I would rather do. This is for her growth and development, not my desire to have an athletic child.)

I'm glad the summer is over, and I hope that we have another successful year. If I need a reminder to love and be patient, we came home with art that will do exactly that. (Center scroll of cherry blossoms purchased in Hilo, from the artist, Lilian Storino.)

Chinese characters for Love (left) and Patience
flank Storino's original art in the center --
the other scrolls were purchased at the
Byodo-In Temple* gift shop on Oahu.

* Interesting story about Diana and the temple bell: Most people were really hauling back and trying to ring as loud as they could. She took hold of the rope and carefully struck the bell softly and repeatedly before we urged her to step away because others wanted to ring it.

The idea of the bell is to spread the teachings of the Buddha as sound carries; I doubt many of the visitors there were aware of that. "It is said that ringing this bell will bring you happiness, blessings, and a long life." I wonder what it means to ring it as she did...