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My Grandchildren’s Fahu

I am a very fortunate mother. I say that because I have been blessed with a very loving and caring daughter. Many people want a son as their first child, but I believe it is better to have a daughter first. This is a tribute to all loving and caring daughters everywhere, but especially to my own. She was raised in the South Pacific Island of Tonga and is the eldest of four children.

My daughter was born after a very long hard labor, but when I first saw her cute little face, all of the pain and misery left. She actually was a honeymoon baby, born nine months and two days after we were married.

Over the years, we have become best of friends, and at times I feel that she is more of a mother than I am. I had a very troubled childhood and tumultuous teenage years. Perhaps my daughter learned from my mistakes, but she has never been any trouble and has always been there to lift me up.

I am eternally grateful that the Lord saw fit to bless me with such a beautiful and thoughtful daughter. I see the trouble other daughters cause in their family, including myself, and know the Lord was watching out for me when he sent this special spirit to our family.

The saddest day I remember is when my daughter left me to go to university. It took me a long time to get over and her absence was literally painful. But, I knew she had to find her own path and future. Her caring nature carried over into a career. She chose to be a nurse, and I have heard from several of her patients who remark about her loving character. Now she is a Nurse Practitioner and she is a doctor to many, including me.

My daughter and her husband have been blessed with their own beautiful daughter, who is also a sweet and devoted child that bring all of us many smiles and so much joy.

Daughter, I love you so much, more than I ever thought I could love another human being. I am so happy to call you my daughter and hopeful for the mother that I am becoming through you and with you. Thank you for helping me in times of need. I can never repay you for all that you have done for me.

For always and forever, you are the biggest part of my heart.

My daughter’s new daughter
How precious and sweet
Beautifully perfect
From her head to her feet

Ten tiny fingers
And ten tiny toes
All dressed up in lace
With a cute button nose

I look at her face
And I see her bright smile
I have to admit
Takes me back quite awhile

I remember the day
Brought my own daughter home
More precious than anything
I’d ever known

Our daughters are the most precious of our treasures, the dearest possessions of our homes and the objects of our most watchful love.
~ Margaret E. Sangster

A daughter is beauty at its finest.
Heart of an angel, soul so pure, and sweet.
Daughters are one of God’s most precious gifts that he has bestowed upon the world.
Angels in Heaven do not compare to thine beauty, and grace my ever so beautiful, and lovely daughter.


Seeing you at birth brought more joy to me
than all the money in the world could ever do.
You are morning, bright, and shining,
you are noon, you reside at the highest point in my heart,
you are the dew kissed night.
You are my daughter, heart, and soul.
~anonlymous

Art by Ruth Kongaika

So, you may wonder why I entitled this post as “My Grandchildren’s Fahu”. In the Kingdom of Tonga, the eldest sister in a family is revered and given many responsibilities as well as many rewards. https://www.mercyworld.org/_uploads/_ckpg/files/mirc/brief/SenolitaVakata.pdf
This document explains so much about the culture of the Fahu.

Liana has already taken upon herself the “burden” of being our family doctor. Whenever we are sick, she is right there to make sure we get the best care. She will stay up all night with us until she is sure we will be alright. If she really wanted to, she could ask any of her brothers for one of their children (although I’m pretty sure she won’t). She also asks them to take responsibilities by preparing food or giving money for a family member and they oblige willingly. I’m so glad that my sons respect their sister and help her when they can. Although we don’t live in Tonga any more, Liana is a very good example of service to the whole family.

My grandchildren’s fahu,
Liana Olivia Kinikini



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God Bless the Child Who Suffers

Baby Lily Ruth

The lyrics from a Shania Twain song beseeches God to bless the child who suffers. Halleluiah! Every time I hear it, I cry a little. It reminds me of my youngest granddaughter. In the womb, her backbone did not develop correctly so she would never be walk alone on this earth. I know that we all have something wrong with us, either physically, mentally, or otherwise. None of us are perfect. Our DNA may be tainted so that we are predisposed to certain conditions. God give us hope. We all need someone to hold our hand and help us through this life.

My journey with Lily began before she was born. Her birth was abruptly followed by two surgeries, one to close her back and one to put a shunt in her head to drain out extra fluid. She has had no feeling below her waist since then. Lily and her family have made the best of what she was given.

Lily was a poster child for a wheelchair company

Lily has a pitch-perfect voice and she is not too shy to sing alone on a stage before hundreds of people. Thanks to Friend to Friend, she is able to participate in musicals every six months.

Now it is ten years later and she just finished three surgeries. She has been blessed with goodly parents who have raised her to participate in many activities, no matter how hard. She has played softball, basketball, tennis, wheelchair dancing, and she recently rode in a hot-air balloon! There is hardly any limit to what Lily can do.

Lily skiing.

Lily had been so active going up and down stairs unassisted until her leg got swollen and it was discovered that she had broken one of her legs. Because of where her leg was broken, that leg stopped growing.

Lily is outgoing and makes friends easily. Her personality overcomes any obstacles that may get in her way.

Lily is very expressive in her dancing.

Lily’s father and siblings recently made a trip to the South Pacific with her Grandpa ‘Isi. For those with disabilities, traveling internationally can be very challenging. Third-world countries rarely have ramps or doors that open for wheelchairs. Lily stayed with her mother and waited for news from the islands. America is quite aware of and make efforts to help people in wheelchairs, but not all places are accessible. The LDS church just put out a video which is quite telling.

Thought provoking video.
Lily loves the beach. This was on a visit in Hawaii!

Lily’s family, including both parents and siblings, were born and raised in Hawaii. The medical care there was not sufficient to handle the needs of a child born with severe spina bifida. So, the family moved to Utah.

Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City as well as Shriners have helped immensely when she got sick or needed special medical help.

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Lily has brought so much to our family. More empathy, more kindness, more understanding, more service, and so much more. I can’t imagine my life without Lily!! I love her so much!


She has enriched our lives and make us feel closer to heaven. She recently gave me a ride on her chair lift up and down the stairs. Her parents have done all they could to meet her needs.

Lily Ruth Kongaika

We are so grateful she came to earth and look forward to a time when Heavenly Father will bless her with a whole perfect body.

Here is an exceptional young man with spina bifida who made the best of things, Aaron Fotherinham!

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Naming Grandparents!

Some new grandparents want to be called by their real names. My grandchildren call me Grandma Ruth which I find quite endearing, and I especially like the Grandma part.

I did think about it for a while before I officially became the third generation. I even called myself Granny, trying to get used to the term. Now that I have twelve dear ones, I do not mind whatever they call me as long as they are respectful!

I got a chuckle from one cute little grandson who used to call me “Grandpa Ruth” as he had a hard time saying Grandma.

Grandma Ruth (I’m her namesake!)

When I think of my own grandparents, I remember my mother’s mother (Grandma Ruth – after whom I am named) always having her hands busy with knitting. She made hundreds of beautifully knit blankets, sweaters, booties, bonnets and so many more. When she was not knitting, she was cooking, sewing or cleaning. She made the most delicious potato rolls, and although they never had much, she would stop whatever she was doing to feed you.

Grandma Gladys

My father’s mother (Grandma Gladys) baked yummy breads, preserved jams and jellies, and could cook up the most delicious mutton (they raised sheep). She had chickens, and would let me go out to the coop to get the newly laid eggs. She let me enjoy myself in her pea patch and the rest of her wonderful garden. Grandma Anderson spent much of her time tatting doilies (almost a lost art).

Tatting shuttle

Both of my grandmothers spent hours and hours sitting on their tush creating beautiful masterpieces with their hands. No gym, aerobics, just their hard labor cleaning and gardening. They both lived to be in their nineties! Lucky if I should live that long.

Although these are not the typical middle~aged people nowadays, I think the feelings between grandparents and grandchildren are pretty similar.

Could it be that we are more concerned with the way we look, and are hopeful that we look more like their mother than their grandmother? Are we fooling ourselves? As for myself, I sometimes look in the mirror and see my mother looking back!

In the United States and Canada, Grandma and Grandpa are more common. whereas in Britain, New England, Ireland and Australia they use Nan, Nana, Nanna, Ninny or Nanny. I’ve also heard of Tutu, Mamaw, Grammy, Lala, Ma or Mum. Grandfathers are also called Grampy, Granddaddy, Grandpappy, Gigi , Pop, Papa, Oggy, and many more.

Of course, each language has their own names for grandparents. In Hawaii, where I live, the grandfather is either Tutu kane or Kupuna Kane, and grandmother is Tutu wahine or Kupuna wahine. My grandchildren call their Filipino grandma Tutu and grandpa is Papa.

Often the first name that the baby calls their grandparents, while learning to speak, ends up being what they are known as from then on. The first grandchild usually is the one who sets the trend for the rest of the grandchildren.

Some really cute names for grandparents are Poppers, Poppie, Pepop, Pops, Popsie, Sasa, Sugar, Sweetie or Sweetums, and Grandpie.

Of course, when the children get older and want to introduce their grandparents to their friends, they usually fall back to the usual names of Grandma and Grandpa . So, these nicknames that are adopted are special terms of endearment. A special name between the children and their very own special grandparents. More often step grandparents are called by their first names, unless they have grown up with the children close by.

It is not uncommon to have four generations still alive in a family, and in some families five generations are not unusual either, depending mostly on how young the parents are when they have children. Six is a rare thing, but not impossible.

I don’t believe you have to be old and creaky to be called Grandpa or Grandma. I just feel lucky to still be alive and have the blessing to get to know and watch my grandchildren as they grow. I enjoy watching how my own grandchildren handle difficult situations as they become preteens, teens, and older. God bless them, please!

I love being just Grandma.