Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A little of this, a little of that, and a lot to be thankful for.

I haven't managed to get back to my blog for a little while now. Life has been pretty fast paced and when I did have time I was too busy enjoying time with my family to bother. We have just returned from a week in Tully, North Queensland visiting my parents. Unless you have been living under a rock or are from another country you will be aware that on the 5th of February this year Tully (more so the surrounding region) was hit by a Category 5 cyclone. Winds were estimated to have reached 300km/hour and the results are still everywhere to be seen. In true NQ style though the locals are bearing up and are still as laconic and friendly as ever. It shocked me though. I grew up in the area, I lived through cyclones, but this was very different.
Having the boys there really made my parents happy. The boys put on a good show too with heaps of cuddles for them and plenty of hilarious moments along the way. We made the most of the time with some activities that made my childhood happy and adventurous and the smiles and laughter from all of us showed the success of the trip. We swam in the creek at the back of mum and dads place, we went to my favourite beach in the whole world and we even got to the outer reef for a snorkeling trip. I won't go into all of the details but some snippets really must be mentioned. First is my favourite beach. Etty Bay. I spent hours there as a kid and all the reasons I loved it have become the same reasons Alison, Jack and Rohan love it too. we spent hours searching the rock pools for fish and crabs, swimming in the sea and of course eating fish and chips from the kiosk.
Jack contemplates whether it should be icecream or lemonade.
Rock pool adventurers
Rohan just kept smiling for a whole week.
The next adventure worth more detail was the reef trip. A whole day out on the outer reef of snorkeling sounded great but we had some concerns as Rohan is only six. We should not have been worried as he was ready to give it a go as soon as the boat stopped and when the first thing he saw once in the water was a green sea turtle the day was set. We saw so many fish, huge clams and starfish it got to be too much. Rohan and I swam through a huge cloud of small blue fish and got to see an eagle ray gliding over the bottom but all he wanted to see was a reef shark. The tour operators went to great lengths to assure everyone they were harmless and after that it was all he wanted. Alison had taken him for a while so I could dive down a bit and explore and just after they left I turned around to swim off and there, not ten feet away was a white tipped reef shark. Bummer, he missed it. It was OK though. The boys are both still talking about the day.
We are home now. I feel blessed to have shared more quality time with the family and lived every moment of it. Easter came and went with barely a whimper but again the time with family was the focus. Alison and I had a chance to kick back a little and let the grand parents spoil the kids so everyone was happy. I have had time to reflect on how lucky I am to be where I am now and be thankful for all the help and wonderful support that has been given to me and my family along the way. This time of the year is always a time for reflection for me. So much has happened, good and bad, all falling around this time of year.
Eight years ago today began 5 weeks of torture for Jack, Alison and myself. Jack was admitted to hospital with a lump under his right jaw line. It later turned out to be Neuro Blastoma, a malignant and aggressive type of tumour common in young kids. He under went too many procedures to mention and was then put through regular tests and check ups for another 3 years. Seven years on and he was given the all clear and is now the happy, bright kid I love and cherish.
I stopped being reliant on medication to deal with my anxiety and stress issues. After two years I learnt to deal with the demons and got off the pills and have remained so. It would not have been possible without my friends and family and all the love and support I received during "The War". I still keep my little "check up, from the neck up" going, and I still make sure my feet are firmly planted on the ground but now it's more as a precaution than a way of life.
So now I am just going to cuddle my kids too much, kiss my wife until she gets annoyed and generally keep a stupid grin on my face for a while. Thankful doesn't even come close.
Life isn't always perfect, but to be living life, sharing life and loving life is perfect enough for me.


  1. I love this blog Graham : )

  2. Aw shucks.... Even if it is mostly about bikes?