My story begins, as most pertaining to children do, with my mother and father. My dad can best be described by a mug my mom gave him in the eighties. It has a picture of a rainbow, which arches the span of the mug and ends as a cascade of bricks forming a wall. The caption reads, "Under Construction". My dad always has a project he is building either with his hands or with his mind. He constantly talks about his grand dreams and plans - some of which get done, while the rest remain gloriously incomplete as castles in the sky, untouched by reality or harsh physicality.
My mom, on the other hand, has her feet firmly planted on solid ground. She is a giant willow tree, her branches supple and far reaching, with lots of room underneath her to shelter, hide or rest. Her roots cling to relationships, memories, traditions, anything that can stay substantial in her ever-changing life.
My parents met and fell in love in the height of the disco era, although they were more flower children than club hoppers. They saw the first Star Wars movie on their honeymoon. They moved to Austin, TX to start a fledgling software company (more rainbows) a few years later, bringing my older brother, Nathan, myself, and my sister Anna in tow. There, they also began building the house of their dreams, my mother wielding a hammer during the day as she looked after the three of us and grew my brother, Matthew, in her belly. Dad would come home from nursing his new company to work late into the night, building his own private castle.
I am convinced that had Dad and Mom known Ma and Pa Ingalls, they would have packed up the covered wagon right along with them, and headed West. I would have grown up running the prairies with Laura and Mary, and mean ole' Nelly Olson. As it happened, though, there were enough uncharted territories in 1989 to fulfill my parents' wanderlust. And that's where the little island of Luaniua comes in.