Chapter 26 – Sarah’s Story.

The following week passed quickly. Molly, satisfied with her writing and Will with his art work, they decided to take two days off before doing another interview on the weekend. There was so much to explore in the city. The next weekend had been organised to interview Sarah. Will and Molly had been invited to Sunday lunch, the only day Sarah’s husband Mike would be home also.

They woke on Sunday morning to wild weather, the wind and rain pounding against the outside of the house, despite being in a sheltered area. Nowhere in Wellington was able to escape this kind of weather, except inside. Molly snuggled up to Will, pulled the duvet over their heads, and enjoyed the warmth and comfort of the luxurious bed for a little longer. There was no need for them to get up just yet….

By lunch time the weather had eased, the heavy cloud and wild wind giving way to sunshine and a calmer breeze. Sarah and Mike lived in Lower Hutt, in a new housing estate. They had their own home designed by an architect and built by Mike’s best mate Steve. Dissatisfied with the typical project homes available, they loved the idea of creating their own home beginning with the design. Even though they had moved in just a couple of months ago, the house had the feeling of a much loved home, warm, comfortable and welcoming. They had also been busy decorating a room for a nursery – Sarah was 5 months pregnant with their first child. Pregnancy suited her, she had that maternal glow about her, rosy cheeks and bright blue eyes highlighted by her strawberry blonde shoulder length ringlets. She had that Earth Goddess look about her.

Mike was tall and of a muscular build due to the nature of his work. Short dreadlocks, body piercings and tattoos matched his colourful, effervescent personality. Mike was a fitness coach and worked at one of the gyms in Lower Hutt. He was involved with a programme for street kids, helping them to buildup their self esteem and confidence alongside of their physical fitness. It also helped for these kids to have some goals to achieve, and the importance of discipline at this stage of their lives. He was surprised by the amount of girls living on the streets and had applied for funding to provide an educational service for both boys and girls in safe sex, personal hygiene, good food and how to say no to drugs. He was quite popular with them, his appearance more acceptable than most people in an authoritative position. His work was well received by the local high schools. Government funding was always a problem but he had gained the attention of a wealthy benefactor who had chosen to remain anonymous, insisting that Mike’s workplace keep him employed, and to assist him in staying focussed on developing his programmes.

Sarah had prepared a traditional lamb roast, something her family had insisted on each Sunday. Not that they were religious, but it was a day that most of them did not work and she wanted to continue the tradition of getting together each Sunday. Usually, they would take it in turns each week with other members of Sarah’s family. Mike was relatively new to New Zealand, having become a resident 5 years ago,  having migrated from Sth Africa. He was orphaned as a child, his parents  killed in a road accident, and Mike had been adopted out. His adopted family still lived in Cape Town, where he had grown up with them. Mike was streetwise, therefore slightly guarded and naturally a little defensive with adults initially. He softened as the conversation started to flow more easily. Family was important to him and he loved the involvement with Sarah’s family whom had welcomed him as one of their own.

Sarah’s family were farmers and her mum and dad still worked the family farm of several generations just outside of Upper Hutt, in a small valley amongst the Akatarawa Ranges. Housing estates were now visible in the distance from their home and they were adamant in their decision not to sell up despite growing pressure from developers. The farm had been in the family since her dad’s great, great grand father had bought the land back in the mid 1800’s. They were very excited about Sarah and Mike having a baby, which would be their first grandchild.

“What would you like to do regarding work when the baby is born Sarah?” Molly asked.

“Well, I would like to be a stay-at-home Mum. As much as I love working with Tom and Delilah, and it is a great environment to work in, book publishing is not really my thing.” Sarah replied.

“And what is your thing, what is it that you would really like to be doing?” Molly enquired.

“Childcare. But not your average kind of daycare. I would like to have a lifestyle block and be able to provide a rural experience for the children. This house is a stepping stone. We have a 5 acre lifestyle section that is a part of Mum and Dad’s farm, and have been discussing plans for a house and business on the section. We’ll rent this house out when the second house is ready to live in. The advantage of the growing housing estates is that there will be a demand for family daycare. I guess initially, I will return to work after three months maternity leave, part-time to help keep the income flowing whilst we build.”

“Sarah, is there anything you would like to change at work? If it were your company, is there anything you would do differently?” Molly asked.

“Hmm…had never thought of it that way. Tom and Delilah do such a good job, but both of them do not have children. Although, I have a sneaking suspicion that Delilah and Louise maybe wanting a family. She never talks about it, but her interest in my pregnancy has provoked some conversations with me, you now, asking lots of questions about what it is like to be pregnant. There is a softness that has developed in our professional relationship.  I think she is clucky! I guess the one thing they may need to consider is in-house childcare. They have the room for it,” said Sarah.

“These are good points Sarah. You don’t mind if I pass them on? They are all helping the company to grow and evolve with the needs of their staff,” Molly suggested.

“Sure, I guess it would be helpful. Maybe it is something I could consider, after my maternity leave, of providing in-house childcare!” She looked at Mike for any indication of interest, to which he replied, “It sounds a good idea Babe. I’m happy living here and being close to my work. We could build a house on the block as a weekender instead of a lifestyle change. That’s if it feels right for you and Tom is agreeable. Mention it to him and see what he thinks. We can be flexible, we have options.” Sarah’s face lit up with this new idea and Mike’s support. “Oooh!” She exclaimed and then giggled, “the baby just kicked. Do you think he agrees? Oooh, there it is again,” to which they all laughed at the coincidence.

Mike knelt by Sarah and placed his hand on her belly, looking at her with such love. Will, always quick for an opportunity, discretely took a photo with his cell phone and captured the moment beautifully. “Mind if we use this?” He asked Sarah and Mike, showing them the picture. 

“Oh nice,” they replied in unison, and then Sarah asked, “so what is this all about, you know the interviews and photo’s?”

“All I can say is that Tom and Delilah are putting together a surprise for you all. My lips are sealed,” said Molly, winking at Sarah.

They enjoyed a relaxed afternoon together. Mike felt comfortable to share his story, of growing up in Sth Africa. He has a video chat with his parents once a month staying in touch with them. He had not been home for three years, when he and Sarah went to visit them as a part of their honeymoon. Catching Sarah yawning, Molly took the hint and said it was time for them to go, but not before taking care of the dishes. Leaving Mike and Sarah to cuddle on the lounge, they cleaned up the kitchen. Molly felt quite a connection with this lovely couple, and offered for them to come and stay at Lockyer if ever they felt the need for a change of scenery. 

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