Photo by Leslee Mitchell Photography
When I was away at University in the States, I would call home as often as I could rationalise with the cost. Calling collect only works if your in prison, or atleast about to be. I was attending a small school in Kentucky before Lord of the Rings was made. No one knew anything about New Zealand. I can’t tell you how many people complimented me on my English. Calling home and hearing a familiar voice on the other end kept me going. As I was preparing to go home for the first time in a year, I remember my Mother telling me “Don’t put us up on a pedestal. We are the same people we were when you left.” My Mother is a very bright woman. We all have a tendency to rewrite history.
Today is a big, big day. Today, my children get their Dad back. And I get my man back. And it gets difficult to get a seat in a restaurant again. It has been 9 weeks which is far too long for all of us. When Jeff last saw Poppy, she couldn’t read. Last night, she read a Dr Seuss book to her brother and sister. I am so thankful for this gift that Jeff has given us. He encouraged me to take our kids on an experience of a lifetime, knowing that he couldn’t come. When I doubted the sanity of my idea, he pushed me to perservere.
I am not rewriting history when I say that we are a stronger family when he is with us. And when he leaves again in 3 weeks, we will be really, really sad. But I predict for much different reasons than when he left us in February. This time, we will be sad to know that our time here is half way over.
Prior to this adventure, New Zealand belonged to me. It was “Where Mum grew up and why we get in trouble if we call her Mom.” In 11 weeks that has all changed. New Zealand is now part of them. It is in their soul. Yesterday, I watched all three of my children get up on their school stage and sing in their Kapa Haka group (Maori performing arts). They sang 2 songs in Maori with big smiling faces. This is their country too now. They are making their own way here.
And when we return to the US in July, if my kids want to put New Zealand on a pedestal, it’s okay with me. I certainly do.