Cheryl Rosen is an amazing Auntie. She absolutely loves her hectic fashion career in NYC and thoroughly enjoys being single. The only problem is that love of her life lives in Ohio - her 10 year old neice Gaby. They get together for holidays and skype or email a few times per week. Still their limited time together is never enough.
Last summer Cheryl flew to Ohio to celebrate Gaby's birthday. It was a backyard Luau complete with a dozen of her friends, grass skirts, pineapple cake and ukelele music. At the end of it all, Gaby admitted to Cheryl that "she wished every day could be a Hawaii day". This comment got Cheryl thinking.
Cheryl approached her Brother and sister in law to ask if she could give Gaby the "real" Hawaii for her birthday this year by taking her there on a vacation. This idea was a win-win-win for everybody. Gabt gets to visit a place she's always dreamed of, her parents will enjoy a little alone time and Cheryl gets to enjoy a fun week with one of her favorite people in the world.
When Cheryl approached me to help with the travel arrangements, I told her that not only was Hawaii an excellent choice for their great girls adventure but that it holds a very special meaning for women like her...
Hawaiians have a very strong sense of family (Ohana). They have a great deal of respect for their Kapuna (elders). Due to this love of family and respect for their elders, you will hear many Hawaiians calling elder women "Aunties" (anake). Whether or not you are connected by a direct bloodline, calling someone an Auntie is a term of great endearment. It says you respect their wisdom, their character, their important position in your life and that they hold a place of great love in your heart.
We set the plan into motion. After a few conference calls with Cheryl and Gaby's parents it was a done deal. Cheryl flew out to Ohio two weeks prior to Gaby's birthday for the big reveal. Gaby thought she's heading to the airport to pick up Cheryl for an early birthday visit. Instead she got the surprise of her life when her parents took her suitcase out of the truck.
Cheryl & Gaby spent 3 days on Waikiki surfing and soaking up the sun. Then they flew to Maui they took a bike ride down Halekala and visited the seven sacred pools. They flew back to Oahu for four more days at Disney's Aulani Resort where Gaby learned how to snorkel, how to speak Hawaiian and even how to hula for real. The girls returned home to Ohio in time to celebrate Gaby's 11th birthday with a Mad Hatter tea party.
Needless to say, the girls had such an amazing time on their Hawaiian adventure. Gaby has caught Auntie Cheryl's travel bug and plans are already underway for a London & Paris vacation for next year. Gaby's parents have already started getting her first passport. Cheryl will need a few extra documents to travel overseas with Gaby but we'll help her with what she'll need.
What makes Cheryl such "an awesomely cool Auntie" in Gaby's own words isn't her impressive birthday gifts or credit card. It is her committment of time and self. This is the most treasured gift of all. If you live near to one another then it's easy to spend time with a neice or nephew at the zoo or the movies. If there are miles between you then often spending vacations together is a great option. Family reunions are wonderful but I am a huge fan of one on one vacations. This really allows you to celebrate what makes each child unique and special to you. Well done Cheryl!