Monday, August 29, 2011

It all starts with Kindergarten

Today was truly a momentous occasion and it came with a whole flood of emotions. Devyn's first day of Kindergarten! I guess until very recently I’ve kind of mentally blocked the kindergarten thing. Now all of a sudden, it’s upon me. It’s funny how life sneaks up on you when you’re not paying attention. I’ve been reading different posts on Facebook this week about various friends and family sending their children off to college. I keep thinking what that must be like. No doubt it’s a mixed bag of emotions. How wonderful it must be to watch your children grow and thrive. How gratifying it must be to know they are pursuing an education and you helped get them there. And yet, how bitter it must be to drive away from that campus and send them off into the world. And it all starts with kindergarten.

It was hard to predict how she would handle separation on the first day of kindergarten. When Devyn was young, she obviously went through what they call separation anxiety — whatever that is and whoever “they” are. I couldn't even take one step away without her screaming at the top of her lungs. I remember thinking, "Someone PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NORMAL!" As she grew older, she got much better. So when I finally had to prepare for today, it was very unnerving for me. I imagined her clinging to me in terror, or skipping happily off without even a parting glance in my direction.

The morning started off great. I woke up to find that my husband had taken the day off just so he wouldn't miss her first day of school. I wasn't surprised, for the past 5 years, he's babied her. Devyn seemed excited and anxious. As I was in the bathroom getting ready, she walks in, sits down and has this terrifying look on her face. "Mom, I think I want to be in the same class as Jaice now" (my nephew who also started school today) and then "Mom, I'm scared" over and over again. My heart dropped. Just as we're about to leave, she starts to freak out! So, I had to pull out the Coach Mickey in me and give her a good pep-talk.

Devyn also gave me a hard time about wanting to fix her own hair. I was devastated. It was the first day of school and she would be gone for a few hours and now she doesn't even want me to do her hair-which I always did. I felt emotional because she's growing up and she wants to do things on her own. She's not going to need me soon. I was very excited for my babygirl, but I wanted to be a part of it! It would have been great if I could just sit in class with her. I felt like I was missing out on what was going on in her life somehow.

For nearly six years now, I have had the privilege of being home a lot with Devyn. In those early days, it was just me and Devyn most the time. We have a special bond. I love this little girl fiercely and can’t wait to watch her grow. And yet, I’m sad because a chapter of my life is ending. She started school. She will be out of my sight every day. That mama bear instinct is rearing its head. I want to protect her always. I want to spare her from disappointment. I want to shield her from bullies. I want to let her know we are there supporting her even when she can’t see us. The best I can do is continue to nurture her and hope that we will provide enough of a foundation for her to succeed.

Letting go has got to be one of life’s most difficult challenges. I know it's time for me to let go and send my kindergartner off into the world. I’m excited for the road ahead and excited for my babygirl. I’d be lying though if I said I didn't get teary. It was that first symbolic step from the nest — for both of us. Devyn saw how excited my cute nephew Jaice was and everything was smooth sailing from there. Today was a great day.

Happy first day of kindergarten!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

What every woman needs!

Woke up this morning not feeling so well and got online to find the most pleasant thread of emails. It made my day! :)

Everyone needs a break, but lets face it, women need it more. For the past few years, a few of my girlfriends leave the guys and kids behind for a little R&R. In February, we met in Vegas and emails are now circulating on location and dates for next year. I gotta say, I'm so stoked! And maybe because my life has been crazy busy lately but our retreats are always so spiritually uplifting, inspiring and full of laughter and love. Lets not forget all the shopping and consumption of food that goes on.

As women, when it comes to doing something for ourselves-we always feel guilty. I'm always feeling selfish or narcissistic before leaving on this annual getaway but I've come to realize that the exact opposite happens. By doing something for myself, I become a better mother, employee and spouse. I believe that it's absolutely essential to do a little something for yourself every once in awhile, or you become bitter and resentful.

I am looking forward for the uninterrupted grown-up conversations, the chance to feel 16 again and stay up late in pj's and black masks, sleeping in, to laugh, cry and talk about life til our heart's content, to being around girlfriends who help me get and stay clear about who I am as a person...and if we get around to it-to practice on my photography! :)

Sage Fried Chicken Benedict at Hash House is to DIE for!!!

All those cameras, and this is the best group shot we got in Vegas. In the elevator on the way to Hash House! lol
See you ladies soon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Sweet Farewell

Just a couple pictures up of my Mama's final day, up on my photoblog.
Check it out here!


Monday, August 1, 2011

The woman I call "Mama"

I’m not sure how to express just how much my grandmother means to me. Not that I haven’t been inspired—I just haven’t had the emotional fortitude to put into words what I’ve been feeling lately. You see, my Mama died a couple days ago. She was the last of my grandparents and lived almost 91 years. She led an ordinary life, but to those who loved her, she was extraordinary!

Call me selfish: I wish she were still alive.

As I was reminiscing and pulling up old memories, I naturally started thinking about her house – her humble home in Laie, Hawaii on Lanihuli street that sits a top Iosepa street. The home all her grandchildren grew up in and the only house I had known her to live in during my lifetime. In my mind, I started revisiting each of those rooms. And it occurred to me that each one held memories that seemed to characterize some part of her personality.

So, let me just share with you a few of the memories that Mama’s house evokes for me.

The living room. One of the first things a visitor would see were all the pictures in that room, mostly of the grandchildren, and later the great grandchildren. Mama was so proud of all of us. As each of her grandchildren grew, pictures updated as we graduated or got married and had children of our own. Mama loved being a grandmother and a great grandmother and her living room was a testament to that.

Mama’s kitchen. Her way of nurturing you was to feed you. And when she wasn’t feeding you, she wanted to make sure you were eating. Even up to the last time I visited her this past mother’s day, she asked if I was eating okay -– I am 30 years old, living in Utah with a husband and a daughter of my own. Somehow, I’ve managed to take care of myself all this time. But she still wanted to make sure I was eating. It was her way of telling me that she cared and still worried about me no matter how old or capable I might be.

The last room I’ll mention is Mama’s bedroom. When I was a little kid, that room seemed so special and almost magical to me. But, that room must also have been a sanctuary for her -– a place for quiet reflection and prayer. There's a distinct spirit you feel in there. It was peppered throughout with symbols of her faith. Mama was a woman of unwavering faith and I imagine she sought grace and peace in that room. Her bedroom also reminds me of her protection and love for her children, especially her boys. Everytime we would go with dad to visit her, I would hear her call for him. My dad would walk back to her bedroom and prop himself on the bed next to her. I watched from the hallway as she dug through her purse to sneak cash into his hand as if he were her little 5 year old boy again. That will be one of the sweetest memories I will always hold dear to my heart.

I have so many other recollections of her –- there are some familiar to many of my family, like the way in which she would mangle the English language, except for when she sang her famous "I have a testimony", or the way in which she kept the television up to ear-splitting volumes, especially when she was watching the Rock on Monday night Raw. And there are recollections more personal like when she visited us in Utah in her 80's. My choices didn't always reflect what I had been taught but, I overheard her counseling my parents that the most important thing is to LOVE, regardless of the heartache we put them through. A grandparents love is so unconditional and that's one of the things I'll miss most. These memories represent but a tiny fraction of the woman I call Mama. She was a woman who knew hardships: at times struggled to keep her family afloat, took care of my ill-stricken grandfather for more than 10 years before he passed, and buried two of her own children. But she knew great joy too. She married, got to watch her children grow up, and see her grandchildren come into this world. She was lucky enough to witness the birth of many of her great grandchildren! She cherished her close relationships with her siblings and she had lifelong friends. Mama was devoted to her church and had a constant testimony of the law of tithing.

To me, my grandmother, Vaelua Tapusoa-Purcell, represented the epitome of love, strength, and loyalty. She was strong in character, and had a tender, loving, and generous heart. Mama was the backbone of our family. She lived, loved and spoke with the awareness of Christ pulsating through every part of her being-and did so up to the very end. But the greatest gift my grandmother gave me was to witness her display of commitment and love for my grandfather. I will remember my grandmother for her strength and loyalty towards my grandfather and the many years she took care of him with such love and devotion. Even after his stroke which left him dependent upon her, she never left his side. Mama cooked his every meal and took care of his every need. She hated being away from him even when she would visit her children and grandchildren here in the mainland and it became more evident in her deteriorating health after my Papa passed on.

Thank you Mama, for showing me what True Love looks like. I don't want to forget it, ever.

In the hurriedness of life, pain causes a person to stop and reflect. My Mama has enriched my life tremendously. She left behind a legacy of children, grandchildren, love for her faith, and an eternal impression on the many people she helped during her life. I hope with all my heart she left knowing how much of an influence she had in my life and just how much she means to me.

She leaves a big void in my heart but I know she would want me to fill it with all the love and happiness I can muster up. I begin with the happiness and joy of her reunion with my grandfather. I love you Mama!