IMR: 1999: January: 26 — Tuesday, 6:31 a.m.
College of Business Administration, University of Hawai`i–Manoa, Hawai`i

Katie is one year old today.

Every single cliché I've ever heard is swirling around in my head. I feel like a walking Hallmark Hall of Fame television miniseries.

I've always heard people say, "It feels like she was born only yesterday." Turns out they're not being sentimental; they're perfectly serious.

Even sitting here, on cold concrete, waiting once again for someone to show up at the AIB office so I can put in my .35 hours of work, I can still whisk myself back in time and re-live any moment in the hours preceding my daughter's birth.

I can smell the hospital air. Hear the amplified thunder of my unborn daughter's little heart. How could 365 days have passed between that evening and this morning? It seems impossible.

And yet, though I know work was unusually hectic yesterday, if pressed I probably couldn't say exactly what happened.

Well, okay, that's not really true. Yesterday was a bonafide Big Day at the office.

After weeks of intensive preparation, strategy meetings and "high-level negotiations," we successfully had the location for our 2000 International General Meeting changed from Sydney, Australia to Honolulu. And through carefully engineered public relations, we kept the lid on the news until Gov. Ben Cayetano's "State of the State" address yesterday morning.

My boss and some coworkers went down to the State Capitol for the speech, and I stayed behind to tape the live broadcast on KHON and fax the official media advisory to local media outlets. The latter task felt a little weird... it's been a while since I've been on that end of a press release.

We honestly couldn't have asked for a better break. Halfway through the address, Cayetano announced the meeting, and paused to recognize my boss for his work in bringing the IGM to town. Then he dedicated a good four minutes to singing the praises of our organization, and how its mission complements his own in positioning Hawai`i as a serious place to do business.

The word is out. And we immediately hit the ground running.

The next twelve months will probably be the toughest our office has ever faced. While things get down to the wire for this year's meeting in Hong Kong, we're also going to be planning next year's IGM. And since we've also moved the dates of this annual event from May to March, we have less than a year to get things just right.

Making arrangements with airlines, hotels, and the Hawai`i Convention Center (our presumed venue). Securing six-digit sponsorships and contributions from corporate supporters. Confirming speakers, building a program and scheduling activities. Navigating government bureaucracies, wrangling reporters and a million other things.

My duties are going to be vastly broadened from website development and basic techno-geek stuff to all things media. Writing, editing, and yes, public relations. (Yeesh.)

I feel completely underqualified, out of my element. But I'm thrilled.

Jen's parents have been in town since Saturday. Their arrival seems to have been perfectly timed to coincide with the arrival of the first major storm system this year.

After flying ten hours from cold and wet Ocala, Florida, they find themselves in cold and wet Honolulu. It's been rainy and—more notably—windy since the very hour their plane landed. Trees are falling, windows are howling, doors are slamming and cars are rocking.

I'm so mortified. Hell, I know I can't control the weather, but I can't help but feel bad. As we took a circle-island drive on Sunday to see Haleiwa and the North Shore, I apologized for the gray skies and muddy puddles at every stop.

Of course they don't mind. They're so happy to simply be here they're glowing. The weather and the scenery is only five percent of the grade, after all, for this particular visit. They're here to see Katie. And they couldn't be happier.

It's a wonder to watch... the way Ed (my father-in-law) lights up when Katie smiles, or the way Lorraine falls to the floor to crawl after her giggling granddaughter. For the last eleven months, they've downloaded every picture and hung on every squeak overheard during Jen's weekly calls. They were her biggest fans, but they lived 5,000 miles away.

Finally they can hold and talk to and marvel at the object of their affection.

I probably can't even fathom what they're feeling. I love Katie more than anything, but I've seen her every day of her life. If I had to wait a year, I'm pretty sure my heart would simply explode the first time I held her in my arms.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 26 January 1999 · Last Modified: 04 February 1999