This week I’d like to share a little bit about “The Dream” Tim and I have for our family.
We both LOVE the ocean and have a common obsession with the sea and surfing. I grew up practically living on the sand, our house was less than 200 meters from the beach and when you grow up in Hawaii, you learn from an early age that, a good beach is all you really need to be happy in this life!
Of course you get older and learn that there’s a price to pay to live in paradise, but when you put your feet back in the sand or in the water, you realize it’s worth it! Ah… and still I’m here in Melbourne, Australia feet planted firmly in the concrete, but we try to make our way out to the beach in Torquay and Philip Island as often as possible. We also plan a trip every year, somewhere warm, that has waves, where we can surf. Our favourites: Bali, Hawaii, Samoa and Kingscliff, NSW.
When I met Tim in 2009 our first date was a surf-date. We drove an hour and half to surf at a spot called Malibu. Yes. Malibu, Japan. Over that first year of dating we made several long drives to the beach at Ichinomiya, spent time camping on my days off and he assisted in the purchase of my first ever wetsuit! We overcame many obstacles, like trying to have a conversation in the water and barely understanding his Aussie accent to learning how to set up a campsite as a team, to him learning (offering) that I get first pick of all the waves coming through. He’s so sweet and we fell in love on the sea.
One day in February of 2011 we were at home in Hawaii surfing at a break called Freddie’s. We had the whole break to ourselves with no one else in the water and it was the set-up for one of the most perfect moments of my life. The sun was setting, the water was warm, the light reflecting off it’s surface was also shining with love in his eyes as Tim said to me, “You know I love you right?”
“Yes I know. I love you too” in my head I like to add “you weirdo.” Because he had tried several times to swim over to me and had this funny look on his face! I realized later he was nervous.
Then he asked me, “Will you marry me?”
I looked at him and said “No,” his face looked confused, “OF COURSE I’ll marry you!”
When we got to the sand he asked me to wait while he ran up to the car. He came back and slipped the most beautiful ring onto my finger. The moon was shining, our hearts were exploding and a few months later as the sun set, standing on the sea in Maili, we sealed the deal and vowed to spend the rest of our lives together. It was perfect!
When Nainoa was born I had to wait 6 weeks before I could get back in the water. My 26th birthday was right around the corner and I told him I wanted a rocking chair. He got me a brand new surf board instead!
We spent the first 6 months of Nainoa’s life at the beach, taking turns in the water and on the sand with our boy. There was one week I remember my Mom came home from work and babysat every day so I could get in the water for an afternoon session at Goat Island.
I was really sad when we moved to Melbourne and Nainoa was 8 months old. We caught the end of Spring on the beach in Torquay and the water was so cold! It took a while for me to accept where I was in life, I spent the first winter in Melbourne away from the beach and managed to escape back to Hawaii for a few weeks.
Somehow, Tim convinced me to get a 4/3 wetsuit and that got me into freezing Victorian waters and along the way we picked up wetsuits for our boys too so that they will be warm playing on the sand and the edge of the water. It seems like just yesterday Nainoa was a tiny infant and now he’s in the water learning to catch his own waves!
When Nainoa was four we had our first surf together at Malaekahana in Laie. We rode on my dad’s giant longboard, paddled into a few waves, I stood up then would crouch down and pick him up too, it was the best. Since then Tim and I have been pushing Nainoa into little waves trying to get him to stand up on his own. It’s so amazing to see his relationship with the ocean and surfing growing without our past bribes! Now we just reward him with praise and the occasional slushy! Last weekend I saw him paddle into, and stand up, on his first wave ever! It was incredible! We had a conversation in the water afterwards and I explained to him about my dreams. I said I knew that someday I would have my own kids and I wanted to teach them to surf. I told him, “Today you made my dream come true.”
Nainoa recently described his surf experience this way saying “Hey Mom, I was made for this!” I always dreamed of having my own family, teaching my kids to surf, and seeing them develop a love and appreciation for the ocean.
I’m so happy I get the chance to share a life-long passion with my husband and kids. It is wide-spread belief that “The family that plays together, stays together”. But in Victoria, when you’re at the beach… the family with the wetsuits gets to play longer!