Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Welcome, 2020! Reflection is a wonderful practice. It’s important to take some time to intentionally look back over the year and ponder over our lessons learned from hardship and success and the gratitude and grace we can take with us into not only a new year but a new decade!
While the last blog post recounted events and reflected on some of the ups and downs of farm life from Christmas 2018 through the summer of 2019…we wanted to pick up on a little of the happenings since then. There is much to look back on and reflect on for us from 2019–both with the farm business and our own lives and how often they get so intertwined.
For example, it’s funny to think that after taking New Year’s Day 2019 off and coming back to work the next day, I announced to Tasha that I was pregnant. It was very early on but as my business partner it was imperative she be aware. Tears of joy and excitement were shared, because it’s just exciting news, but because it was something I never thought would be possible for me after so many losses—it was cause for even more celebration!
Every day the baby grew was a gift. It was funny learning how to do the farm work with a changing body and was hard to give up some of the equipment operations and heavy labor (because hey that stuff is fun too!) as I had to shift to doing mostly the floral design work and business management and was limited to just harvesting in the fields as I got closer to my due date, but I worked up until the day I went into labor and am grateful for Tasha and the crew for taking on what my two hands (and back!) sometimes couldn’t do.
I ended up giving birth to a son on our 11th wedding anniversary in late August. My husband and I were (and are) overjoyed! And Tasha and the crew have been pretty smitten with the newest little member of the Anuhea Flowers Ohana. I am grateful for all their love and support!
We had limited the shipping days in September to accommodate me being out and the flowers not quite coming into season yet while Tasha and the crew ran things—harvesting, creating, shipping, tending to and maintaining fields and plants, day-to-day business operations—and I am so grateful for their willingness to provide that time for me to be with my family.
My return to the farm after 4 weeks coincided with the return of the protea season. I live in a cottage on the farm property and was able to pop up and down to feed the baby while running things at the farm. Since my husband was still on family leave to be with the baby, when Fall Break in the schools came in October, I was able to run things with the crew so Tasha could be with her kids (and her husband took off a little time off from work too so they could all have some family time).
Typically when the kids are out of school and their dad is working at his County position, they come with her to the farm. It’s been fun for me to watch Tasha’s sons grow and help out on the farm the last couple of years and it’s awesome to imagine them teaching my little one the ropes as he gets older, too.
While it’s very challenging and a lot to juggle owning your own business, add being a parent in there and it gets even tougher! However, having the kids at the farm with us is also a happy reality in our lives as farmer-florist-moms!
And just as we were basking in the freedoms afforded to us by owning our own business and having this partnership so we can have some flexibility here and there to be with our families and cover for each other, came some news that rocked us all to the core.
Tasha’s husband was diagnosed with an acute and serious form of leukemia just a few days after the boys returned to school from Fall Break. It came out of nowhere and was very dire. Tasha rushed her husband to Oahu for medical care as our island of Maui was not able to provide it. There are no words that can describe the terror and utter heartbreak Tasha felt getting that news and being so close to losing him in such a critical situation…it’s impossible to describe how one life has such an impact and a ripple effect on so many until you really stop and think about and feel it…We are beyond thankful he was able to get the care he needed and they were able to respond so quickly! There was a lot of uncertainty (and there still is as things can change so quickly) but news was looking more and more optimistic with each passing day in December.
We are coming into the New Year with great hopes as the last several months he has responded well to rigorous chemotherapies on Oahu and has a bone marrow transplant scheduled early on in the year. Tasha, and sometimes the boys, have been able to travel back and forth to be with him and she has been a rock for her family. She will again travel as his caregiver back and forth to the transplant and recovery facility in California when it is time and what an incredible caregiver she is…she is truly amazing and I admire her so much.
As there often is in any year, there is joy and there is heartbreak but 2019 has been….quite the roller coaster to put it lightly. It’s amazing to experience and witness how others show up for us in these times of great highs and terrible lows. The outpouring of love and support in the happiest and scariest of times has been incredible.
Even without these major changes and shifts in our lives in 2019, we couldn’t do what we do without being in this partnership together and in community with others and this gratitude is something that we never lose site of and know that we will carry the graces others have given us into 2020 and beyond. We all really pulled together to get through the busiest season of the year with some of the most challenging situations we have ever had to face at this time.
Mahalo from the bottom of our hearts to all our wonderful families, crew members, friends, volunteers, fellow growers, customers, and vendors…all these people make this dream of owning a farm and continuing to run it in times of adversity possible.
With warmest Aloha,