Outings often a 1-woman show
By Ka'ohua Lucas
Family outings are fun. It's a time for 'ohana to bond and enjoy each other's company. Or at least that's what we are led to believe.
But whenever an idea pops into someone's head to have a family day, I'm usually the one who has to orchestrate it. It's as if I've been appointed ali'i, the king.
The other day, we decided to combine my oldest son's end-of-the-year project with a family huaka'i, a trip, to Hanauma Bay. His mission was to collect small amounts of olivine, black and white sand. We agreed to leave the house by 6 a.m. to find parking.
I awoke at 4 a.m. to prepare musubi and the condiments that go with it. At 5:30, I roused the rest of the gang.
"I can't get up, Mom," my 12-year-old complained. "It's way too early."
The 8-year-old: "Why do we have to get up so early, anyway?"
My husband: "Zzzzzzzz."
As the boys struggled to wake up, I continued my preparation. Water bottles filled. Watermelon cubed and stored in a container. Carrot sticks bagged.
"Come on, e ala e!" rise! I said.
Finally, I heard a rustle from the bedrooms.
"Mom, what do you want us to do?" my oldest asked, wiping the makapiapia from his eyes.
"Collect what you need for your project and whatever else you need for the beach."
"How 'bout me, Mommy?" my youngest asked.
"Get yourself ready. That means brush teeth, hair, find surf shirt, a pair of shorts, sunscreen, towel and extra clothes."
I felt like a mo'i wahine, a chiefess, spouting directives.
It led me to think of life in early Hawai'i, when a person's actions were partly subject to the direction of the ali'i.
"Even the children had their duties according to size," wrote Mary Kawena Pukui, the late Hawaiian language and culture scholar and author, in "The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawai'i."
"The sharing and divisions of labor in all work (laulima) in planting and fishing, in housebuilding and preparing feasts, in work on the irrigation ditches ('auwai), taro terraces (lo'i) and walls (kuauna), on ponds (loko) and in rituals, the hula, war was also a way of education, for everyone did his part."
The ali'i usually did not take part in day-to-day rituals. They had retainers to ensure that the work was completed.
However, I carry dual roles that of the ali'i and her servant.
"It's the price you pay for being so efficient," says my mother.
By the time I had washed the breakfast dishes, gathered towels and sunscreen, loaded the cooler and driven to Hanauma, I was exhausted. But the men in my family had come alive.
"Wow, Mommy!" my 8-year-old exclaimed, scrambling from the van empty-handed. "This is going to be a great day!"
"Hold on!" I shouted. "You need to kokua and carry something."
Everyone finally did.
But not before I was reminded of another Pukui observation: "Na hoa 'aka o ke one hauli o ka malama." Laughing friends when the sands look dark in the moonlight. It was said of friends or family who will laugh and play in the moonlight but will not lend a hand when daylight and labor come.
Ka'ohua Lucas has an 18-year-old daughter and two sons, 12 and 8. She hold a master's degree in education curriculum and instruction, and works as an educational consultant on Hawaiian curriculum. Write: The Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; or you can e-mail email@example.com.