In October of 2010 for her 85th birthday, I took Mom to Waikīkī on her 9th trip to Hawaiʻi. We stayed at the Ilikai and they graciously gave me a suite next to Mom’s, I presume so that she would have easy access to me. Out of the fourteen days that we were there, Mom, my brother Dan (who lived right down the block) and I ate about five or six breakfasts together out on Mom’s lānai.
The lānai breakfasts quickly assumed their own ritual. While I cooked breakfast in the only decent-sized pot that they provided, a pasta pot, Dan brought fresh fruit and Mom spread a large towel on the table on the lānai and set silverware and napkins. Once I had finished cooking breakfast (sausage slices, bacon, toast browned under the broiler, and scrambled eggs ala pasta pot, the three of us sat down out on the lānai and enjoyed the food, the softly blowing Trades and each other, for about forty-five minutes!
Hawaii’s official motto is “Ua mau ke ea oka ʻāina i ka pono” (The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness). I take that to mean that the life of the land and its people is dependent upon things being in a proper relationship. And relationship is really what we were celebrating out on that lānai, the relationship of our belonging to one another, the celebration of our ʻohana. And even while celebrating it, the experience of ʻohana roots us ever more deeply within those relationships.
I have come to see that pasta pot as a good example of ʻohana. It was the only pot we had to work with, so we made it work. And out of it came our celebration of each other and of being in Hawaiʻi once again: the people (us) and the land (the lānai) in right relationship… ala pasta pot!