A year ago today I woke up in tears in a home that I love, belonging to people I love. I cried while I squeezed a little girl, 6 weeks younger than my oldest, and said goodbye to our “boss friend” who eventually became just our friend. A very good friend who always encouraged and affirmed our gifting and calling. I cried on the highway through steep mountains with water flowing through ridges deep in the earth. I cried in my friend’s arms, the friend who made it seem ok to head over to the island in the first place, and the friend who walked me through the transition into marriage and motherhood. I cried uncontrollably with our smart cart and stroller and an iced americano that had no taste. I cried during take off, watching clear waters fade fast behind me… and I cried when we walked into baggage claim, where my parents waited for us with the black Tahoe. It had only been four and a half years ago that two young newylweds hugged the same mom and dad good bye, bidding aloha with six boxes transported to the airport in a black Tahoe. Here we were again, with two young girls and quite a bit more luggage.
It seemed like a dream. Same airport, same vehicle, same parents… Only the four and a half years had shaped the two of us into a family of four, with darker skin and more luggage to carry.
This post isn’t about Oregon, or recapping a year of living as an Oregonian (that post will come August 7). This post is about a year departed from land of aloha and the impression she’s left.
We have a little mantle decoration that reads “Kailua: Home is where your story begins.” And while Bakersfield for me and Keizer for JD is “home,” Kailua is our home together. Our story as a family began on a small island in the sea. Living in Hawaii has shaped our hearts and imprinted its values into our family. Our girls still use the terms “auntie” and “uncle” when speaking to adults. We say, “all pau,” when we’re done with something. We wear slippers, not flip flops. The ohana culture shapes our view of hospitality and community. A fifteen year old neighbor girl, now almost 21, taught me the importance of aloha and ohana… words rich in meaning to local Hawaiians. Hawaiian music sets our girls to dancing hula. Every night we sing the doxology in English and in Hawaiian. Each child bears a Hawaiian name, and (spoiler alert!), our new baby will have a Hawaiian first name. When we save for travel money, we have our family in CA and HI to visit.
I think my biggest fear, when I walked into baggage claim and a total deja-vu moment, was not that it was all a dream, but that it would fade like a dream. One year later from those tearful goodbyes, and I’m glad to say it hasn’t. We don’t live in the past… God has worked in our hearts and desires to be present where He’s called us, but we have a beautiful story of beginnings and growth that is forever wrapped around four and a half years lived in a small cottage on church property in a town called Kailua on an island called Oahu.