23 years ago when Holly was a toddler, I bought my first house.
I was very young, didn't have much money and didn't want to move out of Auckland, but buying a house meant security for the 2 of us and I was determined.
During the 1980s house prices boomed, I bought at the height of the market so the little money I did have would not stretch far. I had a choice between a brand new box in nappy(diaper) valley West Auckland or a cottage on Waiheke, believe me the choice was not a hard one and one I have never regretted!
Waiheke has a 35 minute ferry to Auckland, which meant a commute was possible, it was safe, child friendly community and we loved living there. Life progressed as it does, there were more of us, then less of us and the girls and I grew and changed. Eventually it became evident that Waiheke was not the place for us any longer - we needed a bigger house, and to live somewhere a little less laidback.
In an ideal world we would have bought a house on the mainland and kept the old house as a bach (holiday home) but since when has the world been ideal? I haven't returned often to Waiheke in the intervening years but it has always been a part of my heart.
Flash and I visited the island on Saturday, I was feeling nostalgic and recent events in our family had left me wanting to show him why I am the person I am and think the things I do.
We caught the ferry 35 minutes + waiting, then a bus to Rocky Bay 30 minutes + waiting and walked for 30 minutes uphill to the old house, now he understands how it must have been for me, getting 3 small children ready and walking to the bus down gravel roads at sun-up winter and summer, and even though when I had a car life was so much easier, I still never saw the house during the daylight during the week commuting to Auckland everyday, but we were protected from the weather!
I think Flash now understands my frustration with and seeming harshness towards our 21 yr old (step)daughter who has recently moved back home with her baby while she saves to move into an apartment, we gave her a very good car 4 or 5 months ago and she had money from an inheritance, but still has not attempted to get her restricted licence. My decision not to chauffeur her and her baby to work or the train (she starts work at 7.30am) when he is away means that she has to leave home at 6am for a 30 minute walk to the train, my reasoning is that the inconvenience will be an incentive for her to get her licence and drive herself. My experience of living where I did taught me that hardship makes you a stronger, more resilient person, soon our daughter will move into a place of her own and will need to do her own housework, cook her own meals and pay her own bills - she will need to be resilient, and we are not doing our job if we do not encourage her independence.
Anyway, enough of that...life is not always sunshine and lollipops with such a large family!
The other reason for visiting the island was to walk the sculpture trail called Headland it is a stunning walk - through bush, across farmland around the clifftops above Matitia bay, the sculptures are often arresting, vibrant and exciting and the walk is pretty strenuous, we were glad we thought to pack lots of water and I was very grateful for the umbrella which shielded me from the worst of the late afternoon sun.
Flash found a friend
and I found one of my kids favourite haunts
we walked, talked and plotted firstly camping there and eventually buying a section or cottage (it's on the 5 year plan...well at least if it is on the plan it's more of a reality!), ate great food and had a fantastic, adventure filled day, the kind of day we hope to have more of in the future.