The Big Kahuna

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I am Kānaka Maoli, or Native Hawaiian, and generally speaking, I consider the phrase “big kahuna” objectionable when appropriated to mean “something awesome”. Traditionally, kahuna is a title that indicates that a person has expertise or mastery of a subject (healing, navigation, etc.). It is not the proper way to describe a big wave, an amazing beer, or a great hamburger.

Despite my dislike of the phrase “big kahuna,” the best summary I’ve ever seen of my own parenting beliefs comes from the late 90’s movie, The Big Kahuna. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this essay called “Wear Sunscreen” (I got it off of a friend’s Facebook page) but I agree with every word, and I hope that my kids, and yours, will take this to heart:

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing every day that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.

I read that “Wear Sunscreen” was a hypothetical commencement speech, which explains why I like it so much. I love a good commencement speech. If you know of any good ones let me know!

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Summer Themes

Every summer, I pick a theme for my kids. My kids are horrified by each and every theme. Usually because they think (correctly) that the theme indicates a perceived gap in their development, according to me. They are insulted that I insist that they devote the entire summer to focusing on fixing their deficiencies.

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It started with the sugar challenge/salad challenge. My child with a sweet tooth had to go off goodies for the summer and my child who normally only ate white carbs had to eat at least one salad per day. That was brutal.

Then came the summer of responsibility. This involved learning to cook and learning to drive. Where we live, kids get their drivers licenses when they are 14.5 years old, so this was important. And everyone should know how to cook.

Next came the summer of tennis. That was fun.

There were a couple of summers of ACT prep. Nerds rule! #tigermom 🐯

After both kids had been accepted to college, we had the summer of Montana history. This was my first big failure. They literally learned nothing about Montana history.

I must say that all of my themes have been a success, except the summer of Montana history. Both kids had already been admitted to the college of their choice, so I had no leverage. I had visions of us taking family car trips to ghost towns and national parks, singing the state song and happily quizzing each other on state trivia. Who was Jeannette Rankin? Who was Mike Mansfield? None of this came to fruition. The kids went on strike and flatly refused to participate.

Oh well. No worries! Upward and onward. Welcome to the summer of self care! We are eating kale, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to do the same. If you do it, let me know how it goes! Also, I hope you have a safe and happy 4th of July! 🇺🇸

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!

Happy Birthday to Me?

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Today is my youngest child’s 19th birthday. She has always LOVED her birthday. She usually wants cake, gifts, decorations, friends, family, and a tiara. She loves presents. She loves parties. She has an app that counts down how many days until her next birthday, and she starts it the day after her last birthday. She truly enjoys celebrating her birthday and I love her spirit!

My older daughter likes a more low-key birthday celebration. However, she’s a near-Christmas baby, and we always worried that she would feel overshadowed by Christmas, so we compensated by having several parties for her each year. A family party. A neighborhood party. A friends party. Even though I think she would prefer a small gathering with her favorite food, people, and a few special gifts, she has always been a good sport about the razzle dazzle.

I can’t help but think that all this attention is misdirected. They didn’t do anything. I’m the one who gave birth! It’s really MY birthday! I should be getting the presents, Instagram stories, and cake! I know, I know, in our culture, Mother’s Day is when we celebrate the ones who gave birth. That doesn’t really make sense to me, though. I’m thinking a woman who gives birth to many children deserves many birthday celebrations. Three kids? Three birthdays for the mom!

So, in this spirit, happy birthday to me! I gave birth 19 years ago today, and now all of my kids are adults. Pass ME the frickin cake!

JK. I love my kids and want to celebrate them on their birthdays.

Warmly,

Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾

Disclaimer: I love to try new products. I’m particularly interested in eco-friendly household cleaning products and I’m obsessed with anti-aging skin and hair care products. If I find something that works for me, I’ll let you know! Please note that I am not being paid (yet!) for any of my product recommendations. It that changes, I’ll certainly let you know.

Comments Policy: Empty Nest Obsessed is a lifestyle blog meant to encourage, inspire, and support you as you navigate your own empty nest. In order to keep the tone positive, I reserve the right to moderate, edit, or delete any comments on Empty Nest Obsessed’s website or social media accounts that are negative, abusive, off-topic, or for any other reason. If you want to Comment as a Guest, your name is the only required field. Type in your name and your comment, and then click “Comment as Guest” and thank you for engaging!