Day 4 of our week on Maui: learning to surf!

We awoke early on Saturday for eggs at Betty’s Beach Cafe and reported to Goofy Foot Surf School by 9am. Brothers Keith and Nick were our instructors, with one teaching my youngest (who’s 7) and the rest of us with his brother.  After some instruction on the beach, we went out into the water, and all 5 of us were able to get up on our longboards!  My 9-year-old son decided after a couple of runs that he needed further challenges, so he did a “cheat 5” and a “switchfoot,” which is apparently rare for one’s first time on a surf board.

Here’s my bride, showing perfect form:

Here’s our youngest, coasting toward the shore:

And our 11-year-old, keeping her eye on the prize:

Here I am, about to hit a cruise ship or some rocks:

Here’s my boy, switching feet:

After we turned in our boards, we walked to the Cool Cat Cafe for burgers (Maui’s best burger!) and browsed the nearby shops for a bit before checking into our last hotel of the week – the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort.  We intentionally waited until the end of our trip to go here, since 1) it’s super nice 2) it’s got tons of activities for children 3) it’d be a nice place to relax some before we had to fly home and 4) we knew the kids wouldn’t want to leave the property.  Sure enough, after being there a couple hours, the children were asking if we could come back to Maui and just stay there the whole week.  It has beaches, pools with water slides, a movie theater, a huge gameroom, walking trails, a luau, outdoor chess, swings, and more.  It’s also expensive, so I was happy to use points to cover our stay.

That night, we had some of the best sushi I’ve ever had anywhere, at Sansei Seafood (another reservation we made pretty far in advance).  But before I sampled said best sushi, we sat at our table while women’s competitive surfing was on TV, and we talked about all we’d seen and done that week. I glanced to my left, and there was a large table with 3 generations represented.  In the middle sat a man about my age.  Tattooed on his left forearm in black cursive were 2 words in large script that I could easily read from 20 or so feet away:  Fuck Cancer.

At first, I thought, “there are children sitting across from him–why would he have such a profane expression permanently put on his body in plain view?  are those nephews and nieces?  his kids?” But after that initial thought, it was “who died of cancer that impacted him so much that he’d have that ink on his arm?  a spouse?  a best friend?  a parent?  is he a cancer survivor who wants to remember his triumph over the disease?”

Given the large number of friends (4 lawyers, all women, all in their 30s) I’ve lost to cancer and our 100-mile hike for a cancer-centered charity, it consumed me for several minutes when I should have been talking to my family or enjoying my raw fish.  My soul ached for this tattooed stranger to my left such that I nearly stood up, walked over to him, and asked about it, but I worried whatever he said would make me weep in front of his family and mine and ruin a good dinner, so I ordered a cocktail and went back to watching surfing after saying a silent prayer for the stranger who hates cancer whom I’ll never meet.

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