The Story behind Rolani’s Wonderland began during a time when “comfort” wasn’t exactly within arm’s reach, but with time, patience, and love, it would eventually blossom into the heart-felt business it has become today.
In the summer of 2012, Rodney and Leilani Howard married in the sunny city of San Diego, California, off the picturesque waterfront of Mission Bay. Together, the couple united as a large happy family of six with two beautiful little girls, and two rough and tumble boys.
But in the months to come tragedy struck, Rodney, a Petty Officer 3rd Class in the US Navy, found himself involuntarily separated from the Military due to a US Government budget cut. The Howard family, now pregnant with their 5th child on the way, was devastated, and they were forced to move and find a new life in Rodney’s hometown of Bakersfield, California.
By December of that year due to the stress and strain of starting over and coping with unforeseen circumstances, Leilani fell into pre-term labor and the doctor’s deemed her as a High-Risk Pregnancy. The couple’s unborn child which was due New Years Day of 2013, was now born one month prematurely on the evening of December 3rd along with several complications.
Within moments of the child’s birth, little baby Lyla was rushed into the NICU, struggling to breath after the discovery of her umbilical cord wound around her neck and the pooling of blood found in her lungs. The child’s frail little body struggled to survive the wavering ups and downs of low blood pressure and irregular blood sugar levels.
Three days later while still separated from their newborn, Leilani who had remained hospitalized, was still unable to see, hold, or touch their newborn child and she struggled with the onset of worry and post-partum depression, while Rodney grew ever anxious and eager for his families safe recovery.
After a couple weeks of countless prayers, words of encouragement, and several visits to the NICU for updates from staff members and physicians, both Leilani and newborn baby Lyla were finally granted their release from the Bakersfield Mercy Southwest Hospital for a much welcomed and longed for return home.
That night feeling happy and lucky to finally be home, Rodney and Leilani and their five children, snuggled up near the warmth of the fireplace. Their children laid out upon the floor wrapped in handmade fleece blankets, snacking upon bowls of kettle-corn popcorn, as they watched the Disney beloved classic, Alice in Wonderland. It was that moment when Rodney and Leilani realized they would need to add an additional handmade blanket to the families ever growing collection, and it was that moment when they realized what their own Wonderland Moment truly was, being surrounded by the love and comfort of their family. Hence the phrase… “What’s YOUR Wonderland Moment?”