Editorial: Happiness is ending night flight

By Andrew Austin

There is something quite satisfying about opening the front door of my new home to the sound of happy children.

It has been more than six months since I lived fulltime in the same house as my wife and three daughters, but they have finally made the move from Auckland to live with me in Havelock North.

I have been on leave for the past week making sure everyone settles in to our new life. Our furniture has arrived and most of the boxes have been unpacked. Preparations are now being made for the start of school next week and the house is a hive of activity.

I became editor of Hawke's Bay Today in March, but because it all happened so quickly it was easier for my wife and children to remain in Auckland.

The original plan was for them to be based there until the end of the year, but as the year progressed it became more and more impractical. We all wanted to be together.

In the beginning the fortnightly commute to Auckland was quite fun, but when you are sitting at Hawke's Bay Airport at 8pm on a Friday waiting for a delayed flight, the fun diminishes quite rapidly.

Living alone down here also had its pitfalls, with the one upside being that I was able to immerse myself in my new job.

All the credit must go to my wife, who managed to combine a high-level fulltime job with raising three energetic young ladies. How she managed it, I will never know, but she has my respect and gratitude for the way she did it.

The split certainly did have an effect on the children and the sense of separation was heightened when my older daughter moved down to start the third term here.

I have sympathy for families going through a divorce because I had a small taste of what being separated does to a family.

Children want their parents with them and the younger ones often don't understand why these things happen.

The worst thing about going back every second weekend was leaving early on a Monday morning to return to Hawke's Bay.

I would tiptoe out of the house at 5am and my daughters would wake to me gone.

On a number of occasions my then 4-year-old daughter would ask me: "Are you going to leave in the night, Daddy?" and I would be forced to nod in the affirmative.

That is until last week when I went up to Auckland for the last time in the foreseeable future.

"Are you going to leave while I am sleeping?" came the sad query.

I was able to reply with confidence.

"No darling, Daddy is never going to leave in the night again."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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