Rory Gardiner's Webpage

10, Oct, 2012

September 2012 update

It has been a month of significant events which have resulted in lasting memories; the passing of a friend, my turning 40, and Rory returning to a two wheel bike.

Rory and Sam have just come back from spending the first week of the school holidays in Whangarei with Grannie and Grandad Gardiner. Happy Birthday Grannie xox The boys were kept busy; having sleepovers with their old friends Lewis and Kody, playing games and taking walks, shopping with Grannie, fishing (Sam caught a sizeable snapper while out with Grandad at Ngaiotonga), organising a movie afternoon, 10 pin bowling, and catching up with their cousins on the farm at Pakaraka where they got to ride the motorbikes. As a treat the boys got to fly back on their own and the Air NZ staff took good care of them. The last few weeks of term flew by. Rory attended his good friend Alana’s 10th birthday disco, and dressed in many bandanas for Canteen’s Bandana Day (he and Sam had 20 between them). The children at IPS brought over 800 Bandanas to school so the Deputy Principal shaved his head, one of the male teachers got his beard shaved off, and another had his legs shaved. A new Family Support Co-ordinator has been appointed for Taranaki by the Child Cancer Foundation. This is fantastic as the Co-ordinators act as the glue which holds the families together. The new Co-ordinator’s name is Kathryn and she sent us some movie tickets in the mail for the holidays. Rory was ecstatic to receive an invitation in the mail to attend Camp Quality 2013 in Hastings. I have spoken with Mike, who has been Rory’s companion for the last two years, and he is planning to attend again and is willing to take Rory on! Rory is already counting down the weeks. It was a sad day when we went to the Taranaki Cathedral in New Plymouth last month to farewell one of Rory’s fellow Camp Quality campers, 12 year old Carrie Allen. Carrie was a remarkable girl with a big smile and a huge heart. Only a month before her passing she organised a concert which raised $8,000 for the Child Cancer Foundation and Canteen. Carrie couldn’t beat cancer.

The Taranaki Cathedral was full of people wearing pink and Canteen Bandanas, and the service was a moving tribute to an ordinary girl who lived an extraordinary life. It touched Rory and I deeply, and reminded me of how tenuous our hold on life is, and how lucky we are. Rory’s next MRI has been scheduled for the 24th of October. I dare to hope he will continue to remain in remission.

Colt our baby is no longer a baby. He is tackling toddler-hood head on. He is a chatter box, and has started to read stories himself “dog, truck, chook, house” and comment on things around him “Nana lolla”. He can now say Sharon’s name, and the names of the other Porse children; Ella, Sophie, Dee-anne, Max and Cooper. When we walk into Sharon’s Colt always looks for her cats under the hedge “Miaow miaow?” He gets lots of attention and stimulation; at home, at Educator Sharon’s while I am at work, at Playcentre, and at Nana and Poppa’s during the holidays. He kept Nana busy with trips to Pukekura Park to feed the ducks and discover the fernery, swimming, exploring the McDonalds playground, and having a ball at Chipmunks. He was excited to have his big brothers with him at Playcentre for a session at the end of last term during Teacher’s Only Day. Even though it was showering there was much activity outside in the sandpit and in the carpentry area. Colt has had his first ear infection, and took a fall in the lounge a couple of weeks ago which resulted in a trip to Accident and Emergency, but thankfully everything was ok.

Sam’s got more on than any of us. He competed in the Taranaki Police Competency Test at the YMCA in New Plymouth as part of a team from Inglewood Primary. Sam’s team got in the top 15 (out of 60) and his good mate Taylor’s team won it. Cousin Logan’s team got 3rd. Sean had a blat around the course as part of a parent’s team to the amusement of the boys. Sam also competed in the Taranaki Road Relay as part of a team from IPS. Each member of the team (of 4) had to run 1.5km around Brooklands Park in New Plymouth. Sam’s team got 7th, and they had to compete against cousin Logan’s team – again! Sam ran again in the 12 year old boys category at the Taranaki schools cross country champs in Hawera, coming 47/120. The soccer season has finished for both Sam and Rory. We attended the break ups at the Inglewood Football Club and got onto the field for the Parents vs Kids games. Thank you to coaches Mike, Jon and Donna, we appreciate all the time and effort you put in for our boys. It made a big difference for them. Sam and Rory were involved in the Inglewood Primary School Show “I am Rainbow”. Rory’s class sang two songs, and Sam worked as a Computer Technician running the lights and sound with Liam and Renee. Sam has completed the testing/evaluation of Year 8 students in preparation for high school next year. We want to wish Sam’s awesome teacher Miss Burleigh all the best with her pregnancy, she is due her first baby in April next year. Sam has received an invitation to attend the Child Cancer Foundation Central Districts Siblings camp in November in Wellington. It will be his last camp before he moves on to Canteen in December when he turns 13.

I have been keeping the boys busy in our spare time. We had dinner at the New Plymouth Club for Father’s Day (Happy Fathers Day Poppa, Grandad, Dad and Uncle Guy). During Conservation Week I took them along to DoC for a Kiwi Conservation Club event. They got to see Mahoenui Giant weta up close and build a weta box which we are going to put up at home. I took a tour of the nursery at Moturoa Primary School in New Plymouth. They are growing lots of rare and threatened Taranaki plants; Hebe speciosa, Euphorbia glauca (Shore spurge), Pingao, Pimelea, Scandia rosifolia (Koheriki), Corokia ‘Paritutu’, for restoration projects. The children have also planted them around the school grounds and the plants are big, healthy, unique and beautiful. As a family we tramped the Dover track in Egmont National Park. Our aim was to reach the Pouakai Trig (1400m) which is the highest point on the Pouakai Range. After about three hours tramping we broke out of the bush into low tussocks and herbs and the track narrowed. It became steep and rocky, exposed, and a little hairy. We had to turn back approx. 20 minutes from the Trig due to low cloud and poor visibility. It wasn’t worth the risk to Rory, and for Sean with Colt on his back. We were all disappointed but we are bringing the boys up to put safety first ..... there will always be another day. While the boys were away Sean and I went to the annual New Plymouth 24 hour book sale. There were close to 100,000 books in boxes and on trestle tables. It was easy to waste a couple of hours, and I picked up books and comics for the boys, some of our favourite mags, and some New Zealand books. Sean, Colt and I went for a tramp down an old tramping club track at Pukeiti. The bush was thick, green and lush and Tree Daisy and Clematis were flowering white everywhere. We crossed the Oakura River to make it to the waterfall for lunch. We took a short cut and did some bush bashing to make it onto a Pukeiti access track which was wide and open to get to the car.

Finally, I turned 40. Two of my special friends, Jo and Cindy, turned 40 earlier this year, and in the space of a fortnight Janine, myself and Mandy turned 40 too. I thought it would be just another birthday, just another number, but it wasn’t. I felt like in some way I have turned a corner. I had a great day. There were stars in the clear early morning sky and a carpet of cherry blossoms on the lawn. I received some lovely cards and presents, and got to spend the day with my boys. After lunch with Nana and Poppa I received a present I never expected. Sam had taken a two wheel bike out of the garage and gone out onto the back lawn with Rory. Rory had climbed onto the bike, Sam had pushed him from behind, and Rory had started to ride. Just like that, on his own, with a moderate level of control. I was shocked, thrilled, and deeply moved. It was the first time Rory had ridden a two wheel bike since the day before he was diagnosed. I don’t know who was prouder, Rory, Sam or Sean and I.