In early 1985 we made a decision to move to Napier. For me, this was a return home but for my husband it was new territory and on my turf, initially living in our family home and with a job arranged with one of my fathers previous workplaces – can’t have been easy for him. Funny though how I thought it would be easy for me…I had only been gone a few years and I was looking forward to catching up with old school friends and colleagues. Little did I realise that while I had been gone I had changed and so had they…some had moved, others had had philosophical insights and a few had even passed away. It was hard.
Going back is never the same…so just keep going forwards…..
There were some familiar welcoming faces – the Marsdens who were still the neighbours, Nan who will always be Nan, Auntie Francie who was my Dees neighbour, Ma & Pa Tully and my old buddy Raewyn for whom I had been a bridesmaid. We got busy getting a house built and Infiltrating the fabric of Napier as a family including attending playgroup and finding a plunket nurse. I was lucky enough to have Joy Cording as my plunket nurse – she had worked with my mother and was the local Guides District Commissioner so I very quickly took on the leadership of St Pauls Girl Guides…..and discovered I was pregnant.
1985 flew past with guides, moving into the new house, meeting our awesome neighbours Des & Sandra with their baby Daniel, socialising with Raewyn & John and making new friendships with Kym, Jenny and their Daniel -who became Rikis best mate. I also basked in the wisdom of the elders including Nan, Auntie Francie, Joy and another of Mum and Dads friends Helen Simes. These ladies gave to me much strength, love and support that I have only recently come to appreciate fully.
Under the watchful eye of my obstetrician my belly swelled and in the middle of October, very early in the morning, I delivered a beautiful baby girl, Alisha Jayne weighing in at 7lb 3oz. Any birth is a magical moment but this was made more-so with Aunty Molly as a late addition to the birthing team. A true surprise it was as I has found her at about 3am as I paced the birthing unit corridor and there she was working away at the hospital. What a great comfort it was to have her familiar face and loving presence hovering protectively nearby as I laboured.
The year drew to a close with the expected, but nonetheless devastating passing of our neighbours baby Daniel after a brave and courageous short life. I felt guilty have such a healthy wee baby at the same time they were suffering such a tragic loss yet Des and Sandra loved playing with both Riki and Alisha, seeking them out when they could and easing any awkwardness. Great neighbours – Awesome people.
Then we were on the plane and headed off overseas (my first international trip) for a family holiday to Papua New Guinea for Christmas with my family. Thats right folks – travel to the tropics with a two year old and a ten week old baby. We were invincible.
Alisha handled the travel and the heat with the stoic acceptance of one who knew no differently – she handled the early weaning onto fresh coconut juice and mashed banana without hesitation and in this manner Alisha has continued through her life with diligence, independance, service and humour to tackle the surprises life has thrown her way. Kia kaha.