Rory Gardiner's Webpage

01, Feb, 2010

Monday 1st February 2010


We are back in the north and it's raining.  When it rains in Taranaki Sam says "I wish the mountain would stop crying" so it seems appropriate it's raining because I feel a little blue.  I feel guilty for feeling this way because Rory's clear MRI scan this week was wonderful news, and cause for elation.  I am grateful for it.  The five weeks the boys and I spent in the Naki cemented my feeling it is the right next step for us.  It has been a traumatic year.  I need to be within the circle of my family for a while so I can heal and become stronger to enable me to support the boys on the next stage of our journey.  Unfortunately the job with Taranaki Regional Council which Sean is keen on is not yet available, and the timing is unknown other than some time this year.  This left us with a dilemma.  The boys and I could have remained in New Plymouth while Sean continued to work in the north and travelled down for periodic 'breaks'.  The past three weeks living apart gave us a taste of this.  It has been hard holding it together as a family over the past year.  The pressure and stress of supporting a child with a life threatening illness causes cracks within the family structure to become chasms, and new cracks to appear.  The pressure and stress doesn't end with treatment, it simply imposes itself in different places during remission.  Many families fold under the strain.  The boys missed Sean during the three weeks apart.  While they had Poppa, Uncle Guy and Uncle Jason it wasn't the same as their own dad.  Equally Sean missed the boys, worried about Rory, and felt his family were living life without him.  For me it was like being a solo parent.  On a daily basis there were tasks to be done, decisions to be made, and life to be lived.  I was forced into a dual parenting role, and to become more organised and independent.  I made a great deal of progress as the blocks fell into place for our lives in Taranaki.  It was hard adjusting to Sean's return, and to make the 180 degree turn in direction.  If we wanted to maintain our family unit we needed to stay together, so we have returned to the north.  Sean has work in Northland, and will hopefully be full-time soon.  Sean's parents, Sandy and Alan, have taken us back under their wing into their home.  I already miss the Naki and my family. 

It was a long drive north yesterday.  We were on the road a little before 8am and Uncle Guy saw us off.  Sean had Rory for company in the truck and they towed the trailer.  Sam was my side kick.  We drove in convoy stopping in Piopio for berry icecreams, at Bosco's inTe Kuiti for muffins, at Pokeno for fuel and Bombay for lunch.  We have travelled the road between New Plymouth and Whangarei many times so have sussed out the best places for kai and fuel.  We got in the door at Whakapara at 4pm.  We are lucky the boys are such good travellers.  They passed the time looking out the windows, chattering to us, playing their Nintendo's, listening to music, drawing, snacking, playing I spy, and Rory had a sleep. 

On Friday Nana and Poppa drove east to Mt Maunganui as Poppa was officiating at a Regional Surf Lifesaving Championship.  There were some tears as we said goodbye.  We spent most of the day finishing the last of the urgent jobs necessary to return our lives to the north.  In the afternoon we drove up to Jason and Wendy's to pick up our trailer and say goodbye (thanks guys).  I always enjoy watching Rory with his one year old cousin Mikaela.  He doesn't know what to make of her in his personal space, scragging him, cuddling him, and giving him a kiss.  He is equal mix embarrassed, horrified and delighted.  Wendy calls them 'girl germs'! 

We spent most of Saturday packing.  Sam and I had a run/ride down the Huatoki walkway, for me it was a way to say goodbye.  It was a hot day so later in the afternoon we took the boys to East End beach for a swim.  Sam rode his boogy board and swam in the waves with his goggles on.  I was pleased to see him doing comfortable in the ocean, as I was a little worried the surf race may have rattled his confidence.  It was a very low tide (full moon).  Rory and I explored the exposed rocks and little pools.  He was surprised to feel how a sea anemone sucked at his finger when touched.  He was determined to go for a boogy board so I put his wetsuit on.  He caught about four good waves with Sean's help.  He enjoyed the feel of the sea around him as he stood in the surf.  He growled Sean to let go his hand but changed his mind when he was knocked over by a wave.