Growing up, my family life was colourful to say the least. In my earlier years, I recall a lot of uncertainty, moving around, different men and some scary situations. But my two sisters and I always had our mum, and we stuck close. It certainly wasn’t easy for Mum, becoming a parent as a teenager and raising three kids mostly on her own without a good support network.
When I was six or seven, my then-stepfather went to jail, the cumulation of a particularly intense and unstable time for our family. I remember ending up in hospital with my older sister; I had a severe asthma attack and my sister’s lung collapsed – a stress response to what had happened. I also remember, with that innocent ‘kid lens’, that my sister saw her TV hero Knight Rider, who came in to visit patients at Middlemore Hospital, and I got to meet the ‘real’ Ronald MacDonald. Exciting stuff!
After the court case and jail verdict, Mum decided to get us out of Auckland and we moved up north to quiet and quaint Waipu. With the help of Nana, Mum rustled up enough to put a deposit on a house which – miraculously – came fully furnished!