Paul invited us to the beach with him and his friends; the plan was Lanikai. The weather this morning in Kailua wasn’t great, but we were already on the road when Paul called to tell us they might change plans and head into town. “I think we’re just going to chance it,” I told him over the phone. “We already promised Abby she could come.”
To my knowledge, Abby hasn’t been farther from home than my parents’ house in Aiea. She doesn’t get out much, so whenever she gets into the car, she’s a furry bundle of nerves that likes verbalizes this hybrid yelp/whimper that is abhorrent to me as cutting styrofoam with a plastic knife.
I’ll give credit where it is due; Abby was surprisingly calm on our long drive to Kailua. Perhaps it was because we were in the Highlander and she had more space. Perhaps it was because she spent half the drive pacing from my lap to the passenger door and back. I don’t know. She got a little antsy in the tunnel and hopped on Madison’s lap. I feel as if I need to give Madison credit also; she is always so tolerant of Abby sitting on her lap, even if Abby’s claws sometimes scratch her legs.
We found parking relatively close to the beach access lane and Abby was roaring to go. Mad was also ready to go. We carried as much stuff as our family is capable of. I was wearing a backpack in addition to all the stuff you see here. I think we were all pretty excited. I’d never been to Lanikai before. I know. I live here. Anyway, we were soon joined by Paul and his friends, Justin and Tanya. They brought their 2-year old son as well. Additionally, Justin was a member of the first class I ever taught at Damien; he was 15 at the time. I am pretty sure I can do the math to figure out how old he is now, but I don’t want to. It’s enough to know that I can check “Cruise with my family at the beach with the family of a former student” off my bucket list.
This was the first time Abby’s been in the ocean. There were certain things that Abby loved about the beach. She loved exploring the space, there must have been so many new and wonderful smells. She loved chasing the birds away from our area; if I had any confidence in my voice command over her, I would have let her run unfettered by the leash. She loved going for walks up and down the shoreline; she took both Lynnette and I on short treks in both directions. She loved shaking off the sand onto our mat, bags, and into the cooler. She loved cruising with all of us in the dry sand and she didn’t object when I splashed her with handfuls of water from Mad’s bucket. I’m just not too sure that she enjoyed actually being in the water all that much, though.
The good news: Abby can actually swim. The bad news: it appears as if Abby doesn’t particularly care to swim. The first time Lynnette placed Abby in the water, our intrepid little Abby paddled her way to me. I was just a few feet away. I was so excited about the fact that she didn’t inherit my ineptitude in the water, I lifted her up. She panicked and tried to cling to me. That would have been fine except she’s a dog and has claws. My chest and stomach currently feature red marks of varying depth. I tried to put her over my right shoulder and she tore that up a bit, too. For whatever reason, Abby did not react this way with Lynnette. The best part about Abby’s first swimming experience, however, was watching Abby’s swimming instincts kick in as soon as she got near the water. Lynnette carried her past the shore break, and Abby’s legs would slowly kick and paddle almost involuntarily. It was as if she was mentally and physically preparing herself for what was about to happen.
Our gamble paid off. It ended up being a beautiful day. Mad was happy because she had new friends to play with. I was equally as pleased because there was a moment when Madison and Abby were with the others on the shore and I was then able to tackle, then throw Lynnette over my shoulder. I don’t know. “Look at our girls,” Lynnette said. Both Abby and Madison were sitting on the sand calmly. Madison alternated between playing with her new friend and running to splash in the shore break. “I think we should hang out them more often,” Madison said later. “We should go over to their house.” “We can’t just invite ourselves over to their house,” I said. “Well, then we should call them,” she countered. “Wait, you want me to call them to ask them to invite us to their house?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said with a kind of contempt that implied “Duh!”