For some reason I can’t recall, on the first morning we were in Honolulu we decided to hike up the crater in the Diamond Head State Monument. Zoe really wanted to go to the beach. As did we. But you know how sometimes it’s hard to transition from real life into vacation? Perhaps we felt like we had to earn a swim in the beautiful turquoise waters by sweating. The state park website says: “the 0.8 mile hike from trailhead to the summit is steep and strenuous.”

When we arrived at the base, we were kind of tired, hungry, and thirsty. But we decided we needed to hike. Zoe expressed quite clearly and emphatically that she wanted to go to the beach. We promised we would go to the beach after the hike. We started to hike.

Zoe whined. We sweated. After about two minutes, we stopped. Zoe refused to continue. We attempted to negotiate. We failed. I told Randy to go ahead and I would stay with Zoe. We negotiated. He went.

Zoe and I sat down on a rock and had a chat. Somehow, and the details escape me now, Zoe decided she would like to continue but would like to play a word game while we hiked. She agreed it would be fun to surprise Daddy at the top. Never mind we’d sent our water with him. Zoe made up a game where each of us took turns saying some random letters — such as FGAW — and the other would think of words that started with those letters. We played this all the way up the crater. We played it on the rocky path, through the dark tunnel, up the steep stairs, and around the spiral staircases.

When we arrived at the top we spotted Randy among the throngs of sweaty hikers. I suggested to Zoe that she surprise him. She ran up to him and said hello and he was, indeed, surprised. And delighted. As were we. I was proud that Zoe decided she could do it and was willing to try. Afterward we had snacks and Zoe had her first shave ice of the trip. Then we went to the beach.