Cool stream water trickles down my giant rubber boots as I slip into the gooey wet mud of our family’s kalo patch. My cousin Isaac and I laugh wildly as we chase a crawdad, the poor little creature trapped in the stream water flowing into our farm. 

“We almost got him!” I scream, as my cousin and I dart forward. Moments later, the two of us are covered in mud head-to-toe without any sign of said crawdad. 

It’s a sticky-hot summer day in the mid-’90s, and the creamy sludge refreshes my skin. We are kids, it’s school break, and I feel unhurried by time. Peace washes over me in this moment, my heart and mind relax. Glancing up at the sun, it looks about midday. In the background, I hear the faint cry of my uncle’s voice summoning us to come and help with chores. My cousin and I snuck out of washing dishes and sweeping the old plantation house and it is time to come clean. Also, the mud is drying and tightening on my bare skin, a reminder that time and sunlight can change a thing.  

Memories like this of me as a keiki here on Maui come flooding back. My biggest anxiety was whether I’d wake up in time to watch the next episode of “Sailor Moon” on our little TV, the only technology besides our corded, wall-connected telephone that we owned. Hours spent doing chores with my family, and taking care of our home and property. Adventures to ‘Iao Valley stream to cool off after a long day. 

These sweet memories make me wonder about how I’m raising my own family. Am I teaching my keiki the value of playing outside? The importance of working hard with your hands? And how to stay grounded in a world that can seem shakey?

“Mom! Look! It’s a guppy! And little fishes!” My eight-year-old daughter squeals with delight, breaking my deep concentration. “Mom, put your feet in the cold water. It’s icy and wakes you up real fast.” 

I slowly wade into the stream with my little girl, wincing. We are out on an early morning mommy-daughter walk. Ruby turns to me, giggling and barefoot, with a wide smile spreading across her bright face. It’s just the two of us listening to the nearby cardinals singing. In their happy tune, I hear my own heart singing. My keiki are crafting a magical childhood all their own, and I know they’re going to be OK. 

Maile Crewdson is a local mom of three young keiki with life-threatening food allergies. Born and raised in upcountry Maui, Maile embraces motherhood wholeheartedly, in its beauty and challenges. Find her online at @littlemauifamily and @cyrusbakingco.