I am a mother. Mother of two adolescent children. They are learning to spread their wings. I am learning to let them go. What does it mean to be a mother? It isn’t always easy and it definitely isn’t always fun. How much do we support, encourage, and do things for our children? How much do we let them do it themselves? Is it ok to let them fail at things because they don’t follow through with their responsibilities? How much of a safety net should we be?
I see other parents in Hilo raising wonderful children into fabulous adults. I ask for advice, I read books and blogs, I do my best to be a good mother. Many people from Hilo have grown up to be outstanding adults not just in Hilo but around the world. A quick internet search produced a few of the following names. This list does not even come close to being exhaustive. Hilo town is blessed with many, many outstanding human beings both famous and not famous.
- Jennifer Doudna, Hilo High graduate, is now a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California at Berkeley and named to the 2015 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
- Ryan Higa, Waiakea High graduate, also known as Nigahiga, is known for his YouTube comedy videos, which have been viewed over 2.6 billion times. As of April 2016, Higa’s YouTube channel, nigahiga, has over 16 million subscribers. (Also Sean Fujiyoshi, Nigahiga’s co-conspirator has his own Living Hilo Style blog post here. https://livinghilostyle.com/2016/01/03/seanfujiyoshiwashea/)
- B.J. Penn, Hilo High graduate and professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.
- Kolten Wong, Kamehameha graduate, plays baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Mark Yamanaka, Hilo High graduate, has won multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards including Male Vocalist of the Year, Most Promising Artist, Album of the Year, and Hawaiian Music Album of the Year. Regularly touring in the United States and Japan, his live band consists of Bert Naihe on acoustic guitar and Eddie Atkins on bass.
I’m sure that the mothers (and fathers) of these Hilo-grown people are very proud of their achievements. I’m sure that there were moments throughout their lives during which both mothers and children would stress each other out. I believe it to be a normal phase of parenthood/childhood. We just have to make sure that we continue to show love throughout the good times and the tough times.
I don’t expect my children to be as well-known as these people. My sincere hope, as I’m sure most other parents will agree, is that children grow up to be self-sufficient, kind, and most importantly, happy. In Hilo and everywhere in the world, it is important for mothers (and fathers) to have a strong support network to help raise their children.
In Hilo, we have the support of other mamas (and papas), family members, friends, book clubs, exercise groups, work buddies, sports-parent pals, and so many other groups.
We all work together in our goal to raise productive, kind human beings. I am so lucky to live in Hilo where our community works together to make this a special place to raise a family. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, my mother-in-law, and to all mothers and those who serve in the role of mothers everywhere. Living Hilo Style.