This I Believe

Puanani - Weybridge, Vermont
Entered on October 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: parenthood

Hawaiian Parenting

Puanani Perdue

As a little girl I always wanted a happy family with great parents who loved and supported me. Although my parents loved me just as much as I loved them, they were not great or even good parents.

I was born and raised in Maui with my five brothers and one sister. When I was six years old, my parents became alcoholics and gambled all their money away. We lost our home and lived on the beach. My siblings and I thought we were camping for summer break and had a great time ? until it was time to start school and we were told we had no money and that we needed to move in with friends of the family.

We moved to Upcountry Maui with our unrelated “Uncle” and “Aunty” and their five children. They were very nice people but they also were heavy drinkers. As the years went by my parents would periodically separate and reunite. My father would leave and return to California with his parents and my mother would support us via the State of Hawaii’s welfare system. My brothers and I went without clothing, toiletry, toys, and even food many times.

Twelve years later my oldest brother took his own life because the scars of childhood abuse left him so wounded that he believed there was no other way out. That’s when I knew my chance of having great parents was over, but I believed that I could some day be a great parent.

Nine years later, I reside in Vermont with my husband and our 2-year-old son. I work hard everyday and am determined to keep money in our bank accounts to ensure that we always have clothing, toiletry, toys, and food. There is not a day that goes by without my husband and I making sure that our son receives the utmost love and care from us and all the other people that are involved in his life. I do all these things because I believe in being a good parent.