If I were Hawaiian, my name would mean ‘moon goddess’, Persian I would be the ‘big white queen’ or if I was Icelandic, I would be known as ‘heavenly or divine’ But since I am a girl with large blue eyes carrying a passport with a lion and a unicorn sprawled across the front, Kiana simply means compassion seeping out of my pores and passion pouring from my heart.
Princess, Wada, Mouse, pumpkin, Kiana
To my cookie-giving, real-talking nan and race-car driving, horseback-riding pa,
As you put the tiara on my small, hairless head and placed the porcelain doll in my grasp, you changed the way I view myself. When you placed the gun to my shoulder for the first time, you explained that just because I am a tiny, blond girl does not mean I am weaker or less than anyone else. You taught me that determination brings you closer to success than any superficial, meaningless work. You sat me down and taught me, that no matter what the problem is, food is a sure way to bring a smile to your chocolate covered face. As we whisked the butter and flour into perfect little handfuls of dough, you emphasized that being a woman was not just about sitting up straight or being polite, it also included sticking up for yourself and having the confidence to tell your husband to get his own goddamn drink. Thank you for the endless hours spent on the lake riding around in circles in an attempt to keep us occupied, for all of the warm, gooey heart-to-hearts and for my extensive knowledge on all of Elvis’ records. Thank you for keeping us around when we spilled too many glasses of milk and put a few too many dents in the wall from our boxing matches. Thank you for clearing the pond just so we could lace up our skates for 15 minutes and come home shivering, just to be greeted with a warm familiar hug and a famous cup of hot cocoa. Thank you for the 8 hour singalong rides and teaching us how to roast a marshmallow to perfection only to squish it between two chocolate covered cookies. Thank you for my crown and thank you teaching me how important I am
To my predator and protector,
Although you could not pronounce my name, I knew you loved me. As we wandered aimlessly on the white-sheeted ground in hope to spot colorful little eggs poking from the fluffy white blanket, you made sure that I had enough chocolate in my basket to feed me for a month. You greeted the boy that had captured my heart in that moment, with a growl and a snort assuring that his intentions were pure. You made me sit through a grueling 2 and a half hours of police sirens and weapons, but you made sure that I got to watch my sappy, tear-filled drama the next time. You may have given me a couple bruises throughout the years, but now, because of those times, I can confidently say that I hold the title for Caterpillar fights. There were those days where the little, blond boy at the end of the hallway was the victim to all of our ‘concoctions’ that we swore were delicious. Now it’s I, who loses all of her treats as you gang up on me using that same blond boy’s innocence as a distraction. As the boys whistled, calling to me like a dog, it was you who stepped in and yelled right back. Ever since those days where you scaled my crib like spider-man, I knew you were both my predator and protector. Thank you for pronouncing my name wrong and teaching me how to defend those who are important to me.
To the man with the drive of a superhero and too many laugh lines to count,
You excepted that I was short of words in my early years because you believed I was just constantly content. You have taught me that complaining about things I cannot change are not worth my time nor tears. You have given me the tools to sculpt and mold myself, when all of the other parents never even trusted their kids with the clay. You taught me that I could be whoever I wanted as long as I tried my best. I had jumped off of a cliff, snorkeled with sharks, completed a triathlon, skied over powder as tall as I and traveled to the opposite side of the globe by the time I was in Kindergarten. You taught me to enjoy the journey that is my life, so I did just that. You allowed me to simply sit behind a couch with my nose in my book for hours and hours, only to scurry out when there was a steaming plate sitting readily at my place at the table. As I walked in to your room with a new skirt that showed a little too much leg, you did not get mad like any normal dad would, you simply told me I looked beautiful but modesty and self respect looked much better on me. You taught me that maturity just means knowing when to be serious and when to be goofy. The 4am groggy, pajama wearing morning drives, hauling a bag double my size and triple my weight up the steps that lead us to our shared ice-cold happy place. Driving to school every morning you taught me that the only reason you should ignore the bad message behind a song is if it gives you a chance to spend time with your child. Thank you for cutting me off when my negative brain started to take over because it has changed the way I see the world. Thank you for accepting my silence as a child and teaching me how to live my balding, wrinkled superman.
To my selfless, over protective, multitasking queen,
The sweet pumpkin in your arms, will never stop seeking shelter under your wings. You have taught me that you can be passionate about many things, but you have showed me how to be passionate about love. The many times when I came to you about the cruel thoughts the girls were saying to me at school, you simply looked in to my eyes and informed me that it was because I was beautiful and they were hurting a little inside. You have taught me that no one’s opinion has any influence on me or my actions. I am my own person and no one can change the way I walk down the street dancing to my own heart song. As you kissed my forehead at night telling me to dream sweetly and then the next morning to follow them, You taught me my dreams were attainable. When my eyes turned red and tears began to spill, you held me tight until I slowly sank into a deep sleep under your graceful guardian wings. Your effortless smile and your strong step taught me that confidence is everything and I can achieve anything. Thank you for the many hours spent in the kitchen trying to convince me that measurements do not have to be perfect. While I tumbled down the stairs in an attempt to get to the clumsily, wrapped gifts before my greedy brothers, only to be met my you and your partner in crime reminding us that this day is about so much more than presents and we are simply celebrating a much more important thing. Thank you for teaching me how to be passionate and compassionate.
My name is princess, Wada, mouse, pumpkin and Kiana and my family has taught me who I am.