For those of you who have been reading me from the beginning, you already know most of the story…
I was so busy taking care of family and caring for others that I did not take care of myself. My best friend died, and I closed myself off to others, and then a new friend came into my life, and though he was very different from me, I began to open myself up. I finally broke down and then built myself back up as a result of letting this new person into my world.
So this new friend…I began to think about things differently, and open myself to new ideas. He inspired me, challenged me intellectually, and asked my advice. I finally came around to the idea of therapy and putting myself first again…part of that recovery led me to spirit animals and I identified with the sea turtle…my dear friend was more of a wolf. That’s where the names come from as well…Honu is Hawaiian for turtle and Kiyaya is Native American, Yakima, for (howling) wolf.
Anyway…I wanted to find a way to share my growth, joy, journey…with every walk of life. I presented at my early ed wellness Network, and started the blog…when it came to children, I saw the turtle and the wolf as my vehicles…the figures were purchased on a trip to the ocean, and I just loved them-they’re made of wood, a technique called intarsia. I contacted the company that makes them and got permission from the CEO. Writing the story, I used a few people as proofreaders and tried out the story on my childcare kids. I used some of their feedback…ultimately I wanted to keep the openness of children’s hearts on the forefront of their world, and that of their caregivers and family members…because in this world we live in, we need more emotional bravery, we need belonging and connection, and we need to be exposed to those that are different from ourselves in order to learn and eventually become who we will be…and the greatest lessons can come from the most surprising places! I never expected to find inspiration from this young man so unlike myself…
And now I am basking in so much support, celebration, affirmation…and joy! Watching the kids as they get to know the characters has been incredible. They retell the tale over and over, adding their own words and adventures! There’s so much that has come from this…
- The pride on the faces of my family, especially my mom
- Reconnecting with former classmates and my hometown
- Connecting with extended family on a new level-when the most unexpected person is touched by the story!
- I’ve been reaching out of my comfort zone, literally and figuratively
- To see my mentors react to the book, and to surpass their expectations has been heartwarming
- Building relationships with new people, with authenticity and opportunity to connect on a deeper level
- My “professional self” is growing-I’m becoming a leader and instructor in my early ed community.
- Revealing my real self and seeing the acceptance…the most amazing thing!