In 2002, I left Hawai’i with the expectation that I would not return to my home state except to visit family and friends. When I boarded the plane to move my life to the mainland, I had every intention of creating my career and life somewhere that wasn’t Hawai’i. I was successful. I laid the foundation for my career. I made friends and enjoyed my adventures. And then I got pregnant. And then I became a mama. And then I wanted to come home.
When Shortstack was about a bit of a year, the opportunity to return to my home state presented it self. I found myself living in Hilo, Hawai’i. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure that I wanted to be in Hilo, but I knew I wanted to be in someplace that I understood the people and the culture. I wanted to be someplace closer to my family so that my little boy could grow up surrounded with the people that I grew up with. I wanted to raise him in a place where I thought he would best learn how to love life, respect of himself and others, embracing and thriving with difference and comfort. Ultimately, I wanted to raise my baby in a place where he could learn how to be comfortable in his skin.
Eventually I made my way back to O’ahu. And, even now, I find myself surprised every once in a while when I experience that internal sense of pure satisfaction and thrill that I am exactly where I am meant to be. And we are raising our boy exactly where he needs to be raised. When I’m walking on my beaches – the one I was raised on (I don’t visit it as often as I used to) and the ones that I have come to claim as mine in recent years – I don’t ever feel unsettled. Randomness flows between my ears. My eyes drift over the beach and the water, take in the distant view of Koko Head, with an unconscious acceptance that this place of awesome beauty is where I am the best and most of me.
This summer’s visitation has made me begin to wonder where Kaleo is going to feel most at home. Where is his place that he will feel and be the best and most of himself? What sounds, smells, sights and textures are going to connect him to his favorite memories and most preciously-held dreams? I would be an outright liar if I didn’t confess that I hope he finds that sense of home on the beaches that I have claimed as mine, in the house that we have made our family home, in the arms of the people that we have surrounded him with. But – well – I’m not shy to admit that I’m more than a little bit selfish. Above all, like most parents, I hope that he finds that place for himself. That place that will tether him to all that he determines is valuable and important in his life. That place that we call home.