When my son turned four we decided to take a trip to Maui instead of hosting another birthday party.

Nicholas kept asking about his party and we’d say, “We’re going to Maui!” We painted this picture of a magical island that was even better than Disneyland.

My husband worked for United Airlines and we got $10.00 tickets on Aloha Airlines as well as a ridiculously cheap resort rate. The kid was so excited to go to Maui!

We donned our aloha wear and off we went on the birthday adventure. For a week we heard the word Maui over and over and over.

We never actually told the poor kid what we’d be doing on Maui or what to expect. I don’t know what he expected, but he was not happy with getting Maui instead of a birthday party.

When we got off the plane and walked outside of the small airport we saw sugar cane. Miles and miles of sugar cane. Nicholas stopped short and screamed, “This isn’t Maui! This is a farm!”

Cue tantrum and all of the tourists wondering what was happening. We somehow got the kids into the rental car and drove to the resort and had a fabulous time.

We toured the quaint town of Lahaina, once a capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and talked about the 150 year old Banyan tree.

I have so many memories of a town that is no more. I can not wrap my mind around this fire, the deaths, the displaced residents.

We went through two major hurricanes when we lived in Hawaii and tropical storms, tsunamis, erupting volcanoes and more. And the rallying cry has always been that Hawaii’s people take care of Hawaii’s people. And this is true. But I hope that people who have celebrated their anniversaries and milestones, those who have experienced the aloha of Maui and the other islands will pray for the people as they grieve and start over. I hope they will give money, will share memories so people truly understand what has been lost on so many levels.