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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 1, 2008

Grandma's graduation gift a letter of love

By Judy Morita
Special to The Advertiser

Editor's note: Judy Morita

of Makiki wrote this letter upon her granddaughter’s graduation from Mid-Pacific Institute last year. She is sharing it with Advertiser readers.

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Dear Keani,

It wasn't too long ago when you entered our world. We watched proudly as you danced your first hula. We chuckled with joy as you belted out "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in your onstage singing debut with the Children's Chorus. We held our breath as you attempted your first shot at the hoop. Oops, wrong basket! But never mind, you were still the cutest on the court and the only one with short shorts. It was only yesterday, and now you have graduated from high school and are getting ready to enter the real world.

I want to hold back the hands of time so you can still be our little princess. I remember how you excitedly told me you "prayed to Jesus," held your breath and took your first plunge into the swimming pool. Do you remember how you would read the signs every morning when I drove you to kindergarten, and how you would always say, "Don't forget your seat belt, Grandma"? (Now that I'm 63, I am finally remembering to do it!)

May 6, 1994 ... you are 5! Your ponytail sways back and forth as you skip happily to school while clutching your Happy Birthday balloon and your unicorn that Mom and Dad gave you that morning. Your face beams as you turn to say bye to me just before entering class. I wave back, holding back the tears that well in my eyes.

Fast forward 13 years. It's May 26 ... graduation day! Your name is announced over the loudspeaker. My heart stops, you give the cheering crowd some shakas and walk, joyfully, almost skipping, to get your diploma. I zoom in with my telephoto lens and capture the same beautiful beaming smile I saw 13 years ago. I see the same beautiful face (embellished with my dimples!) full of excitement and "can't wait" eagerness for all the wonderful things that lie ahead.

Beauty radiates from within, from your heart. And you have grown into a beautiful woman.

Your parents have been with you every step of the way and have tried their best to make your life happy. In return, the best gift you can give your mom and dad is to be truly happy and to share your life with them. Never forget to talk to them, to share your joys, your sorrows, your frustrations, your dreams.

Friends may come and go, but your parents, your family, will always be there for you and you must be there for them, no matter how old you get.

This is the beginning of another wonderful chapter in your life! Take your time and enjoy the journey. As you make your place in the world, don't forget to love who you are. Have faith in yourself, live your own dreams and make a life that brings you all the happiness you deserve.

Everything is possible if you try hard enough. Remember how I would tell you and Kamu to chase away your cold by fighting the germs? You can achieve everything you set out to do if you really want it. Set your goals high.

Don't be too eager to start your own family. There's lots of time for that later. See the world, experience life. Be a traveling nurse, find a cure for cancer, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, run the Boston Marathon! Reach for the sky and even if you fall, you'll land among the stars. Great things happen when dreamers follow their hearts.

To Gramps and me, you will always be our princess. Our gift to you is inscribed with a message from our hearts. Never forget to take time to dream. We will be dreaming right there with you.