Today is one of my favorite days because it’s the most incredible woman’s birthday! I write a birthday ode to my makuahine every year because she’s my favorite person in the world and I’m 100% certain I could never fully operate or exist without her. Something I’ve always known about my makuahine is that she’s fiercely protective over and loyal to the people she loves. Case in point: the infamous time that she physically fought and chased down a man at Disneyland who kept hitting me in the head with his backpack when I was a kid. Other case in point: when a drunk woman pushed her too many times at a Bryan Adams concert when they were both standing on a table, so my pregnant mom shoved the lady off the table. I guess I know where all of my physical aggression comes from as it appears it’s just genetics? My makuahine is not just a feisty and fearless mini person though, she’s a gifted and compassionate educator, a strong independent woman, and the type of person I aspire to become one day. I’m thankful that she’s always been my number one cheerleader in whatever I pursue, going so far as to consistently browse Indeed and other job websites and send me positions I may not have already applied for. She is my most secure constant and the type of mother who wants to establish a passion for what her children deeply care about. For example, mom has learned so much about incarceration and the criminal legal system from my constant word vomit about the topics, so now she herself passionately engages in conversation with her friends and coworkers about how systemically unjust and racist the systems are! The growth is evident and beautiful! I’m the luckiest person to have such a beautiful, powerful, and selfless makuahine as my māmā and I can’t wait to continue forcing her to spend all her time with me for the rest of my life. Hauʻoli lā hānau iā ʻoe mom!