WHAT I'VE LEARNED ABOUT TRADITION + FAMILY
I'm not one to preach. To each his own. Do what's best for your family. Do what's best for you and what makes you feel happy inside. But here's what I've learned in my 30's about tradition and family. And why it's important. For what it's worth.
The older you get, the more poignant everything is. A moment. An action. A feeling. An emotion. It's very poignant when you pay attention. For some reason, I don't think I payed a lot of attention to these moments before 30. I relished in them, saw the moment, moved on. But I didn't pay deliberate attention. But now I have children. It's different.
I'm born of Hawaiian descent. And Irish and Filipino. But more on the freckles later. My Hawaiian bloodline comes from my father Roland. He's VERY Hawaiian. The color of his skin, the tone of his voice, swagger in his local step, obsession with water, it's ingrained in him. It is him. He's also bathed in tradition. Like soaked. It's written all over him. His father and mother ingrained it in him. Passed it down. Example: My mother started dancing the hula because of my father and his mother dancing the hula, a tradition passed down from her mother and so on. My mother is 100% fighting Irish to the bone and yet, she was a competitive HULA dancer. That never would've happened had it not been for a tradition handed to her from her Hawaiian in-laws. It became important to her. Not only important, but a way of life. Her and my father have ingrained in us kids many traditions. I did not know the importance of this while touring the Polynesian cultural center at 12 years old. But when we laid my Hawaiian grandma to rest up on Diamond Head in Oahu several years ago, I paid close attention to tradition, because I understood it and I felt it run thick thru my veins.
Saturday was no exception. My boys as you can see are white as can be, but behind that skin are roots of Hawaii that run as deep as the color of their dark brown eyes. See above and melt. You're welcome.
When my husband said to me "we are gonna do the traditional 1 year luau here at home in Tennessee right?" I cried a little (because my southern husband has 100% embraced my Hawaiian roots and it makes me cry happy tears) and I said, "you bet."
It wasn't exactly Hawaii, but we pulled it off. Complete with local Hawaiian food, Hawaiian music, all of our Nashville family and friends (same thing duh) and a special song sung by yes, the big kahuna himself, my father.
I cried. Hard. The tradition of music and dancing was happening on my back porch while my twin sons stared in amazement at grandpa. Their Hawaiian, strong, role model of grandpa, there in the flesh, ukulele in hand. Sometimes I wonder why I ever rolled my eyes at "having" to dance the hula at another show. What a gift. It's because of these traditions I am who I am in some sense of the way. In many ways. And who my children will be and who their children will one day be.
Tradition isn't to be taken granted for, it's to be repeated, nurtured and handed down, so the generations have something to hold onto. I'm holding on hard. And so will my children. Mark my words.