Last night, I had the honor of attending a wedding reception for my friends Mike and Ashley Adaniya. Mike and Ash are like my hanai brother and sister. Mike’s Dad Henry, a hanai Uncle. Henry’s Mom, Grandma Yo, treats me like a grandson. I gave Mike and Ash’s first daughter Audrey a Hawaiian middle name, Lokahi, which means harmony and a plethora of other things because the Hawaiian words have so much meaning beyond something short. At one point, I worked for Henry, at another I lived with him. They are all very near and dear to my heart. Without this family, this healing journey I have been on would not have happened.
As I went through life, I just wanted to be accepted by others. I have had many friends who said horrible things, turned their back on me. I am not a victim. These were just experiences I needed which showed me, me. As I have been putting the final touches on one book that I am writing, it was a blessing to be there for this wedding.
I was the first person that Ash and Mike shared the pregnancy with. It was the first time I saw a pregnancy from its start to finish. I wasn’t there for conception but they speculate that the night they conceived Audrey was after a party at my house at the time, the Dole House, a staple among my college friends.
The Adaniya’s are an amazing family. Henry’s dream was to live in Hawaii and own a hot dog shop. He had a world-renowned restaurant in Chicago, Trio, that developed some of the top chefs in the country but it was always in the ethers for him to get to Hawaii and live out that dream. Today, Hank’s Haute Dogs has been featured on many television shows, local and global, and is quite well-known.
Sometimes life gives us curves but having the courage to keep walking, to persevere, to grow, life gives us all that we need. Not only in finding it in ourselves but in the “family” we meet as we go through life. I always wanted family. I found my family. I found my inner child and take care of him. I found my inner parents and guide myself gently, sometimes sternly, but trust the guidance from within. I found those shadows that I don’t really like but they are there. And I found my biological family. See them from a different place and have a greater appreciation. I found the Adaniya’s, a family which hanai’d me, more than any Hawaii native did. That’s no disrespect to Hawaii. I love Hawaii. I just feel that as I’ve gone through this journey, I’ve found my family everywhere. Because I am whole, because I can now see it. It was always there.
Much love and Aloha to the Adaniya’s and congratulations!