[Miss them so much!!!]
I am really, really missing my grandparents today!!!
It has been a year since my grandpa passed away and almost 10 years since my grandma passed away, and there isn't a day that goes by that I haven't thought about them or wondered how they would have advised me on certain situations or decisions I have made or just what the overall conversation would be like about different world events that have taken place.
Today is their birthday. They were born on the same day just different years and although they shared so much in common their personalities were very different. My grandmother was very outspoken and assertive and my grandfather was much more quiet and reserved, but they both shared a deep love for the Lord, their family, the Tongan culture and especially for Education!
I truly have been blessed to have them in my life. It is only now, when I reflect back on my life, that I realize the importance of what they have taught me. I realize more than ever before how keenly aware they were of the world and how focused they were on their goal to raise a next generation of young people who would be rooted in our native Tongan culture but learn to carve out our own space in this new society.
They valued indigenous Tongan knowledge and even when it seemed that assimilation was the only way to be successful in this society, they refused to conform-- but instead engaged in personal acts of self-determination by making the Tongan language mandatory in our home, by telling us stories of their upbringing, by teaching us traditional Tongan proverbs and history, and by teaching us respect, love, and kindness, from a Tongan perspective.
I have spent most of my life in the classroom, both as a student and as a teacher, but the lessons I have learned while sitting across from my grandparents, working along side them, observing them, and emulating them have influenced me the most! The lessons my grandparents have instilled in my mind have carried me through many exams and final papers. The love they have instilled in my heart has sustained me through the most challenging times. The cultural values they have instilled in my life has humbled me in so many ways. I cannot deny how much they have shaped my consciousness, influenced my choices and have guided the work that I do. When you are raised around that kind of environment, you cannot help but to innately know that you must give back some how.
on this special day...I dedicate this blog entry to my maternal grandparents; Tonga and ‘Ana Malohifo’ou, who embraced me when I was alone, who loved me when it was difficult, who taught me everything good they knew, who instilled within me a love for my Tongan heritage, who taught me to love fiercely and to speak gently, who humbled me with their very presence, who encouraged me to dream dreams that surpasses the status quo, who believed that there was a place in America for a young Tongan girl who dared to dream, and who infused a love of God into my psyche, to both of you I will forever be indebted!
I know that they are rejoicing together today and I hope that they both know how much I love, respect, and honor their memory, everything they stood for, and all that they have taught me.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA & GRANDPA!!!!
'OFA LAHI ATU Xoxox
[back in the day kickin' it with Grams and Gramps.]
[another generation of kids kickin' it with Gramps]