Revelations in Paradise

I’m back from my vacation in Hawaii! You don’t need me to tell you how awesome America’s 50th state is, but I will tell you that I learned a lot during my week in paradise and I’ll share my thoughts with you now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVELATION #1 – Every parent travelling with young children should own an iPad: In sports, a coach will give the game ball to the player on his/her team who had the most outstanding performance, and without question my game ball goes to the iPad. Between Dora The Explorer episodes and the “Duck, Duck, Moose” learning apps (which are awesome, by the way), that device made the two five-hour flights simple and easy. Other than the fact that I plan to compose a “Thank You” letter to the good folks at Apple when I’m done composing this post (I’m not kidding either), I have nothing further to say about the iPad’s epic abilities to keep a toddler quietly entertained.

Amazing scenery in Kauai

 

REVELATION #2 – Mother Nature is a MILF: Yeah, I said it – Mama Nature is absolutely MILF-tastic. Is there a better way to describe a woman with billions of kids that’s literally as old as dirt that looks as good as she does? All jokes aside, I’ve never seen more beautiful scenery than I saw in Hawaii. Lush landscapes, bright blue ocean and skies, and pristine beaches to die for. Once I got home, I realized that I spend way too much time indoors. Before the days of Playstations, iPads, and MacBooks, how did our parents enjoy themselves as children? They played OUTSIDE! Wiffle ball, hide and go seek, flag football, camping, etc. As a technology geek, I’m not going to say that our children shouldn’t have gadgets – I just believe that our kids should spend more time outdoors being active. And not to sound like a public service announcement here, but childhood obesity is kind of a big deal in America. Since I’m typing this entry at 1:00 AM on a Friday night, I plan to spend the day at the park with Little DDW tomorrow (Saturday) instead of being parked on my couch watching Dora and college football. It doesn’t matter if you live in America or Australia or anywhere in between – you should make an effort to explore nature with your children. It will serve as a great reminder of how beautiful our planet truly is.

 

Don’t lie. You know you wouldn’t mind having this big cock in your face.

 

REVELATION #3 – People are funny: You may not know this, but the island of Kauai is overrun with roosters. You literally cannot walk five feet without seeing one. While MDW was surfing, I took Little DDW to breakfast and we were sitting at a table behind two women (probably in their late 30’s/early 40’s). As a rooster strolled by their table, one of the ladies said, “Hawaii is the only place where I’m OK with having a cock in my face first thing in the morning.” I almost spit my orange juice all over the table in laughter. Little DDW also laughed – which was cute and disturbing at the same time.

Come to think of it, I’m not quite sure why I included this story in the first place. Moving on…

 

 

 

 

Ziplining!

REVELATION #4 – Face your fears: A funny thing happens when you’re completely relaxed in paradise – you think you can conquer anything. My fear of frogs is well documented, but many of you are probably unaware of the fact that I’m deathly afraid of heights too. God created the law of gravity for a reason and I’m no law-breaker. However, when MDW and I were planning our excursions, I said, “Fuck it, let’s go ziplining.” In the interest of full-disclosure, MDW and I went ziplining during our honeymoon four years ago, but it was the “Punk Ass” zipline (as MDW called it) that was barely five feet off the ground. The one we tried last week was the second longest zipline in the world, so it definitely wasn’t for punks. Was I scared? Hell yes, I was. Did I do it anyway? Check out the picture here and see for yourself. Over the course of time, I’ve learned that you never regret the stuff you do as much as you regret the stuff you DON’T do. I’m so proud of myself for doing this and I challenge all of you to confront one (just one) of your fears before the end of the year. You’ll find that it’s not nearly as scary as you made it out to be. To show that I’m in this with you, I’m going to have someone take a picture of me holding a frog before the end of the year. Many of you are probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? Frogs aren’t scary! They’re cute!” Let me put this in perspective for you: I’d rather zipline over a sea of molten lava, naked, while covered in snakes and spiders than hold a frog for ten seconds. That said, I WILL do this. Editor’s Note: By “this,” I mean hold a frog for ten seconds…I just want to ensure we’re on the same page here. 

 

The Baby Ergo was an awesome way to keep Little DDW safe and strengthen our bond at the same time.

REVELATION #5: Hold your little ones close while you still can: My 20-month old daughter can be a little wild and unpredictable (similar to every other toddler on the planet). Because of this, I’m not very comfortable with having her run loose in areas that I’m unfamiliar with (especially areas with vehicle traffic). Luckily, I brought the Ergo baby carrier with me so she could be safe and still see all of what Hawaii had to offer. You know what? It was awesome for me – and I’m assuming it was awesome for her too as she kept saying, “Daddy UP! Daddy UP!” to put her inside of it. I don’t take any of these moments for granted because I know that it’s only a matter of time before she gets too big for the Ergo. Oh – and since she’s currently 3 feet tall and 34 lbs, that “matter of time” could arrive by the time you’re finished reading this post.

 

REVELATION #6 – Memories > Material Items: A few years ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with a wealthy man. I asked him for a bit of financial advice, and he told me, “If you’re going to spend big money on material items, make sure that you only do so for a house and a good camera. Everything else is a waste. Other than that, big money should be spent on events that will create lasting memories like vacations, weddings, and birthdays.” Now that I’m a dad, I couldn’t agree more.

I’ll be completely honest here, Hawaii is a lot of things –  but “cheap” is not one of them. Between airfare, lodging, rental car, food/drinks, and excursions, it’s going to set you back at least a few thousand dollars combined for you and your family.  But think about it – what would you rather spend that money on? A down payment for a fancy car so you can look cool to people who don’t give a damn about you? A designer handbag that your girlfriends will “ooh and ahh” over? A flat-screen TV that will be obsolete within a year? Think about when you were a kid – what do you remember more, the type of TV your parents owned or your family vacations? I still have the pictures from my first ever family vacation – and when I’m dead and buried, I hope that Little DDW shares the photos from this vacation with her friends and children. If you have to choose between memories or material items, choose memories EVERY damn time. Your kids will thank you for it.

 

REVELATION #7 – Follow your dreams: On our way back to Los Angeles, I noticed a beautiful family sitting in the aisle next to me. The mom and dad were very good-looking and extremely kind – and their kids (an 8-year old daughter and an 11-year old son) were two of the cutest, most well-behaved kids I have ever seen in my life. I was so amazed by this Hallmark family that I had to say something to them. I approached the mom and we had the following conversation:

Me: “So what brings you to Los Angeles?”

Mom: “Well, we lived in Hawaii, but we just decided to sell everything – our house, our cars, our furniture – to buy an RV and drive it across country for a year.”

Me: “Wha..? Really? What about the kids? Aren’t they in school?”

Mom: “We figured that there isn’t a better way to learn about American history than to actually visit the places that they would read about in the history books.”

Me: “Wow, that’s really cool.”

Mom: “Yeah, a lot of people think that we’re irresponsible and crazy – but this was a dream of ours and the kids are excited for this adventure. You don’t regret the stuff you do as much as you regret the stuff you DON’T do, right?”

 

Sounds familiar to me.

 

Editor’s Note: Before any of you judge these folks for doing this, let me tell you that this family has its shit together. I could tell instantly by meeting them that they have the “IT” factor to succeed in this world and I have no doubts about the fact that they’ll be just fine. Lisa (the mom) – I know you’re reading this. You and your family have inspired me. I’m sure you will come across haters who will say how crazy your adventure is, but I will not be one of them. Props to you, my new friend!

Editor’s Note #2: Lisa and I became “email buddies” and I shared my Achieving Happy post with her. In doing so, I found out that her husband lost a loved one in the Twin Towers during 9/11. She also mentioned how that unfortunate incident helped to change her family’s life for the better as well. Eerie…

 

OK, that’s what I’ve learned in my week away in paradise. Life is way too short for you to only be truly happy during your yearly vacation. Do whatever you can do to make EVERY day a happy and productive day for you and your loved ones. Trust me, if I can do it – there is absolutely no doubt that you can too.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    DDW, I love all your posts but this one is truly exceptional. Thank you for every word of it.

    HOWEVER. You *really* should’ve provided a spew alert before Revelation #3. It took me way too long to wipe the coffee off my laptop. And I really hate wasting good coffee. And I’m still LOL!

    Thanks again – have a great day. :-)

  2. Carol says

    I actually think that the parents idea to travel cross country with their kids is brilliant. how many people get to do that really. and it will be a wonderful way to teach them about our history. Thumbs up and happy travels.
    Carol

  3. Angel says

    Awesome (as usual) #3 was definitely worth the list…lol
    Kudos to your new friend Lisa and her family!

  4. Jane says

    Awesome post Doyin. Couldn’t agree more. I’m sure your back is aching from the 34 pounder in the Ergo but having them close is precious.

  5. says

    I’m not one of the people who’s going to hate on Lisa and her family’s new adventure. I just started reading this book called Lies My Teacher Told Me. And honestly, compared to all the stuff they leave out of history books, Lisa’s children will learn more on their road trip than they will in school. It’s a shame that history classes don’t teach children all of the facts. You’re right though you will regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do.
    Dee recently posted..Dear NFL CommissionerMy Profile

    • says

      Dee, I agree with you 100%. So many people are focused on the “traditional” way of teaching (as if it’s the best and only way to teach). I’m so proud of Lisa and her family. Kudos to them!

  6. Leean says

    Dear DDW,
    I am an unhappy jerk. Nevertheless I enjoy most of your columns. My dad is pretty unhappy, too, and he might find some grace in your advice and looking at some of your memories to lead us to common fun or silly memories might be a way to build a relationship so thanks! I sent him the following today. Ask Greta the Great. have to figure out a way forgive, but not totally forget or I could get burned the same way again. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
    Leean O’Connell leeanoc@aol.com

    Dear Dad,
    I know your ddws are grown up, but because you taught me throw a spiral pass and got me a great football, and you let daddy long legs crawl over your hands so we wouldn’t be afraid, and because you saw a female doc when you were having pains in your ass because younger wanted anyone not to see your daughters just because they were girls, you might enjoy this blog. I do. Makes me think of you and that sense of wonder thing you brought to things. Love, Leean

    • says

      Leean, forgiveness is one of the most important aspects of life…especially when it comes to your family. Taking that first step is huge, and I hope your dad takes the time to read the blog. Let me know how it works out!

    • says

      It’s so true, Rosa. If you think about it, is there anything more important to spend money on than things that will create lasting memories for you and your children? I don’t think there is :)

  7. says

    I absolutely LOVE reading your posts! Always very thought provoking.

    And no, I do not think frogs are “cute.” So you have my permission to bail on that challenge. Mainly because I don’t want to click over and see a picture of you holding one….because they FREAK. ME. OUT!
    Gigi recently posted..After all these years – why am I surprised?My Profile

  8. Christina says

    Great post, Doyin! From this post, the face your fears and follow your dreams is exactly what I am in the middle of doing in my life right now. What an incredible feeling to be living life in a way that is providing exceptional opportunities! Thank you for your powerful words of encouragement, as I am well on my way to achieving happy! :-)

  9. Jennifer says

    Loved all of your revelations especially about the iPad and on the part about going on vacations and having life experiences. I love vacations and would much rather see the world than have some fancy crap.

  10. Devan says

    Wow, as usual your post has me with a lump in my throat! God put Lisa and her family in your path, I am sure of it. What a wonderful “sign” to wrap up your amazing trip. You and your family are an insparation, fo real!
    I so agree about the money…we got ourselves a big camper (so we each have enough space and are happy and WANT to use it, as you know, when mama’s happy – everyone’s happy), and we love going in it. We do 10 day trips with 2-6 stops/destinations, the memories are amazing! We do alot of grilling of our meals, rather than eating out, the kids wade/run/play/nap/read/etc while the hubby and I relax and soak it all in. Of course, there is a tv and dvd for those wind down periods, and as you stated….the iPad, don’t leave home without it! :) We leave this Friday for our fall break trip, Great Smokey Mountains and then Talladega, AL, here we come!
    Glad you had a wonderful time, I was so looking forward to hearing about your trip, and NOW? I look forward to seeing you holding a frog! 😀
    Devan

  11. Devan says

    You are also an *inspiration*….no one ever said spelling was my strong suite. :) Or maybe I was making a “spar” pun, because of the roosters….NO, I just suck at spelling. LOL

  12. Amy says

    Medium time reader, never time commenter. :) So here I go!

    So much of this resonated with me, too. I’ve often said the “never regret what you do…” and have found it to be so true.

    Hubs and I (and a 28 month old, 9yo and 14 yo) are going to Mexico in a little more than 2 weeks to do a wedding ceremony (we’re already married, but I haven’t worn a white dress yet)… the first time we tried to plan it, he was laid off, and we didn’t go. The second time we planned it, he had an aortic dissection 8 days before we were supposed to go. We didn’t have travel insurance. We’ve paid for this one trip about 2 1/2 times at this point, and I KNOW it’ll be worth it in the memories we make.

    For some reason I got chills reading about your new friend and her adventure, and then of course, I always get chills with the 9/11 stuff.

    Great post.

    Still thinking about my “why”… :)

  13. says

    A great post and congratulations on the great vacation! You are so right about the experiences being the most important part of life. I believe it is the one thing we get to take with us when we move on in this universe.

    For the family you talked to who are touring American, I say “great job.” It does sound like they have their act together and their children are going to be better for the adventure. The haters will say they are wrong, but haters shouldn’t rule the world. If they happen by Erie, PA, tell them to drop me a line and my family will be happy to show their family the sights.

    Thanks DDW!
    Chad recently posted..Pick an instrument…any instrumentMy Profile

  14. says

    Hi,
    Just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. You make parenting seem easy or at least fun. Since I’ve had my two little boys I’ve been trying to do the same or at least survive day to day. If you have a moment come over to newly started blog and please give me any suggestions that you have.

    Much thanks
    B
    thingsthathappeneverydaytome.blogspot.com
    B recently posted..Thank YouMy Profile

  15. Sherry says

    After reading several of your columns, I believe this is your best. It truly makes me feel good that you recognize that now is the time to hold on to that little one and treasure every moment. They grow so fast, and before you know it, they are out of the house, off to college, and then married, and having children of their own. Ever heard the song “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney?? It’s so true.
    I for one am jealous of your new friend, Lisa and her family. What a wonderful thing to do for your children.
    As for the frogs …. my daughter is absolutely FREAKED out by frogs too. So I understand your reticence. Friends (and I use this term lightly) have chased her with frogs, just to listen to her scream. This past summer, she was swimming in a friend’s pool and a small tree frog fell in the water. After we calmed her down, she actually found the courage to hold it for a few minutes. She was proud of herself, and I am very proud of her. Of course, the larger frogs that hop around in the driveway are a different story. I’m sure one day she will face her fear. Probably when her stepson leaves one in his pocket, and she finds it when washing clothes …..

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