The Journey: My wish this holiday season – surround yourself with family


By SAMANTHA BRAZIE, Special to The Paper

Aloha from the Rainbow State, Paper readers! As I write this from my daughter’s home at Schofield Barracks, I look around at the massive amounts of toys everywhere, Christmas tree up well before Thanksgiving, and sink full of dishes that wouldn’t fit into the dishwasher last night, I am reminded of what it was like to have small children and how different my life has become over the years.

I had kids way too early (started at 19), which caused a chain reaction of events that included me working paycheck to paycheck and needing government help such as food stamps and child care assistance just so I could have a job. As a child, we constantly had our utilities shut off and were evicted from housing due to a variety of factors that I’m not going to get into right now. But the point is that I was determined that no matter how hard it was, I was going to do everything in my power to make sure my kids did not have to go through that. And, when that assistance was needed for a lot longer than I ever imagined, I became bound and determined to break that cycle. 

So, I went to college when my youngest was two months old. I bartended and served for a total of ten years before I was able to leave the restaurant industry for the ‘professional’ job I dreamed of. The reason I wanted this was to be there at night and on the weekends for my kids. As anyone knows that has worked in the industry, it can be painful on the body (especially if you worked as much as I did) as well as demanding on a family’s schedule. Most of the time I slept while my kids were at school and worked on schoolwork and my job while they were home. 

In the meantime, I missed out on a lot of their youth. I was the one that funded cheerleading but almost never got to go to a game. I said yes to Girl Scouts but had to figure out how they were going to get there. The list goes on and on. The one thing I wish I could go back and do better is to figure out a way to have been more present when they were little. However, I know I did the best I could and had I known what the future would hold, I would do it all over again. My kids are stable, independent, hard workers and grounded, which can be a rare thing in our youth. Each of them have quite the Journey ahead of them and I am looking forward to sharing that with them. 

As I sat with my grandbaby last night, she cuddled with Stitch, and I thought about ohana. If you remember from the movie, ohana is a Hawaiian word for family … and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten. 

More than ever, this holiday season, my wish for you is that you are surrounded by family. Family doesn’t have to be genetic, it can be friends that have become family. 

No matter where you are or what you are going through, remember where you came from and be present. That is the greatest gift you can give your family and something I am working on daily.  

Mele Kalikimaka, friends! See you in 2022. 

1 comment

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    Inspiring message family is everything especially on holidays

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