is a favorite word of ours.
Hawaiian word for family, meaning "parents, their
children and much more." As Hawaiian as can be in its
inclusivity, it is the "much more" that makes it
personally meaningful for us. 'Ohana, you see, also
includes grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, neighbors,
friends, and community.
is that warm and nurturing feeling of family that those who are
bound by heart ties have for one another. This explains why you
see six smiles beaming out at you from our photo taken in front of
the O, one of ten letters in a row spelling out CALIFORNIA
at the Disney California Adventure (DCA) park entrance. Why
the letter O? O for 'Ohana!
for an enlargement
Family -- 'Ohana -- is not always what you're born
sometimes it's people you find, sometimes it's the people who find
This was taken
this past summer on one of our happiest days on Earth, when our hanai
-- adopted -- family treated us to a fun-filled Disney day and
exquisite dinner at Robert Mondavi's restaurant. From L to R:
that's Jonathan, our godson-in-law who works in Disney's
business department; Samara, his wife and our goddaughter,
a bona fide professional artist/designer; Alana, our
goddaughter, recent biology UCSD graduate, en route to graduate
studies; Sue, their intrepid mom and our godsister; DH;
and in front, Author. Wayne, who grew up with DH in
Hawai`i, found us 21 years ago. He and Sue chose us to be their
girls' godparents. Eleven years ago, he left Earth too early. He's
in the photo in spirit, right there in that puka (gap)
We are 'ohana,
in every sense of the word, connected by a history of life events
together with its highs and lows, joys and woes, and moves hither
and yon. No matter what or where, we drove or flew to be there for
our goddaughters’ major life passages, making sure they knew
they could count on us.
intervening years of living faraway from us, Sue, Samara and
Jonathan, and Alana have miraculously returned to live close by in
Southern California. This year, they've gifted us thrice by fêting
us on Mother's Day, our Disney day together, and our birthdays.
Loving, generous, kind and sweet-spirited, they are loved
completely, dearly, and unconditionally by us.
their summer surprise, we rediscovered the irrepressible kids in
ourselves, and the following week, in anticipation of our 50th
birthdays in September, we bought each other annual Disney passes
with unlimited admittance to DCA and Disneyland.
kids in us are gloriously alive and well, as fun-loving and
light-spirited as ever. We got our money's worth within the first
two months. The off-season is heavenly. No heat. No crowds. No
lines. A dinner, show, parade, or just the fireworks is a
10-minute freeway drive away. It’s been 5-Oh! So Wonderful!
On this sunny,
yet cool winter's day, sitting in front of a crackling fire, DH's busy working on the envelopes, while I put hands to the
keyboard, tapping out these words to you, with O and Freddy,
our dog-kids, at our feet. We are feeling safe, sound, snug, and
blessed with the gifts of life and 'ohana -- by blood
and by heart, thanks to God's most amazing Grace.
we wish you the same feelings -- of being safe, sound, snug and
-- in spite of the topsy-turviness of world events. We wish you
only Aloha, and we infuse this letter with the spirit of 'ohana,
because as a recipient of these words, you are exactly this to us: