It has been one month since the massive earthquake which bought Christchurch to it's knees. The media has moved on to other places and other disasters. But, to be honest, little has changed in Christchurch a month on. The CBD is still closed off, many businesses in the eastern suburbs remain closed. The houses are still damaged, as is the psyche of the people whom live there. Most homes now have power and water back on. But, the water is not safe to drink and the sewers remain critically damaged with sewage being expelled into the city's rivers and oceans. Aftershocks still rattle the city on a daily basis. Many, including myself, whom fled the city in the days following the quake are slowly returning. The future, very much unknown now, plans and priorities have changed, people are living week by week. Looking any further ahead is just too hard.
As I write this, I am hundreds of miles from home. Hundreds of miles from the destruction and devastation of my home town. Nearly two weeks ago, I packed my girls into the car and drove as far north as I could, arriving in the safety and sanctuary of the beautiful Golden Bay. Here, we have been able to pretend for a little while that life is normal. We have walked along the seashore, collecting seashells, paddling and splashing in the shallows. Basking in the beautiful, warm climate. Living a simple, beautiful life.
As our two weeks here draws towards an end, I now only see glimpses of the scared little girls I traveled here with. Holly, too terrified to go on the beach or open the windows because the sound of the waves and the wind was too terrifying for her, the sound too eerily similar to the sound heard in the seconds before an earthquake. Isla, clinging to me, like a little monkey, reluctant to leave my arms, even to those whom she knew and loved. As I watch them run down the beach, cooing like seagulls, laughing and squealing, I feel sad that I have to take them back to the city which has caused so much fear in their tiny hearts.
This week, this little girl learnt to run. She ran round and round the coffee table, she ran across the grass and she ran down the footpath. She tripped on the footpath and cut her sweet cherry lip. Now she is not so keen on running on the footpath but is still happy to run round the coffee table and cross the grass. Bless her, clever girl.
This week, this little girl learn't the joy of drawing with crayons and is immensely pleased with the colourful markings she can make.
This week, this little girl learnt that if she goes backwards on her tummy, she is allowed to go down the staircase herself. What joy she takes in sliding down the stairs just for the fun of it.
This week, this little girl learnt that she can shake her head to let me know she means no. No I don't want to be picked up. No I don't want a drink. No I don't want a bath. So very sure of herself is this little girl.
This week, this little girl learnt to say Nana. Much to her Nana's joy.
This week, this little girl made her Mama's heart happy a million times over, oh how I love her.
Today my little girl turned three. In the wake of all the destruction, we grouped together, a small gathering of friends and family to celebrate three wonderful years of having this little girl in our lives. We listened to songs, we played, we ate. Happy birthday was sung and cake was cut. She danced round the house, she chirped about how she was having a party, how she was three, how it was HER birthday. She wore her party dress and her fairy crown. She was happy, it was beautiful.