1 year 7 months

Our boy is talking more these days but we don't understand most of it. He said a word the other day that sounded a lot like "google" which we thought was cool or perhaps sad since we must say, "Google it" a lot. His consonant sounds are expanding and he says "cackuh" for anything treat like to eat. He deliberately tries to tap his foot when he dances now. He's been learning his facial features and body parts which means lots of eye poking, eyelash grabbing, and little fingers up our noses. He is very investigative. Of course as I sit here, I can't remember all the other things he is doing but it's plenty. He plays in the bath longer, likes to perch on top of the pillows on our bed with the calculator; he has his spots. He's got the most amazing high pitch squeal when he wants to get our attention, which is all the time. It's pretty awesome, especially in that car, like our very own dog whistle for the dog we don't have.

He woke up from his nap and is yelling for me to get him so I will add to this later... maybe.


Memories of Uncle Rob

When I was young it seemed that every year the combined Cammock families would travel to Lake Lyndon and spend a week in the mountains. As a child, and then a young man, I still recall the best part of those trips came late in the evening, normally after the dishes were done and we were all eating our third round of chocolate pudding and ice cream.

All the cousins would crowd around Pete and Rob and probe them for stories of when they were young. We were looking for stories we had been told a hundred times before, but never grew tired of hearing.

I remember tales of Uncle Rob taking a rubbish bin lid and a cricket bat and cricket helmet to the South African All Black Rugby game and getting into it with the police.

There were stories of my dad and Uncle Rob car racing. Retellings of four wheel drifts and lap records around the Avonside Drive-River Rd racing circuit. Even one of Pete speeding to Church with Rob in the passenger seat and Grandma Marg hitting Pete over the head as be slid sideways through an intersection. Then my favorite vehicle related story of Rob getting ticketed for speeding on his motorbike (Aunt Viv may or may not have been on the back) and then two days later having the same officer for his driving test. (As I recall the officer was a little confused.)

I remember confessions of how dad pulled uncle robs car to bits for spare parts while Rob was on his mission and then not understanding why it was an issue when Rob finally got home.

Then there was the classic Church YSA activity story where Rob drove a Land Rover filled with YSA into a 20ft deep lake.

I always enjoyed the brotherly camaraderie of Dad and Rob trying to beat up a drunk man at the garage late one friday night because he had cut them off (likely during a street race).

Then there were the antiestablishment stories like Dad and uncle Rob being “two of only 10 unemployed people in NZ” after quitting work at lunch time on Monday, knowing full well they would be paid for the full week.

Then there was the infamous tale of Uncle Rob wrestling a man at the local fish and chip store while he was the Bishop. It appears the man was an uncooperative inactive.

It seems that everyday I recall an exciting story I heard sitting at the knees of “Uncle Rob” and “Uncle Pete” as they entertained us into the late night hours. The funny thing is after all these years i am not even sure that any of these tales have been inflated or embellished.

The vitality and energy of these stories has followed Uncle Rob his whole life and has rubbed off on the whole Cammock extended family.

My life has been so completely and positively influenced by the relationship Uncle Rob has had with our family. No story of my fathers youth was complete without the inclusion of Uncle Robs heroics and there seems to have been few family adventures that I was involved in that did not have Uncle Rob at the helm leading the way.

In a world filled with families that have no examples to look up to, no leader in the family to embody the virtues that we should strive to emulate, I count myself privileged to have been blessed with two, my father and his older brother, Uncle Rob.

Above all, it is the uncompromising love Uncle Rob has had for his brother Pete and his family that has been the bedrock in my life. I realize Rob has been a reinforcing pillar in our extended families success’. I have personally been so blessed by an Uncle that loved his brother and provided me, his nephew, with that same love.

Uncle Rob’s example has helped show me what is means to be a brother, father, husband, friend and a son. His character has fostered bonds that have shaped our families. His tenacity for life and his sense of adventure has pushed all of us to experiences that we have been privileged to share. His generosity has provided so much for so many, and never with a concern for the personal sacrifice such generosity required.

He has been an example in his community of character, commitment, love and humility. He has always stood for his beliefs, and fought for what was right. He loved and was loved - by his family most of all.

In finishing I would like to share a more humorous story of my own.

Once when I was around 13 an older boy from school bullied me. He pushed me off my bike and jumped on the wheels and bent them all out of shape. My mum and dad had him come round to our house and mow our lawns one weekend to “make him pay for his poor behavior”, mum was all into “natural consequences” at the time.

A few days later I was in the car with Uncle Rob driving towards the Milton St dairy. I pointed out to uncle rob the boy who had pushed me off my bike. Uncle Rob immediately slammed on the brakes, pulled over to the side of the road, jumped out of the car and yelled at the boy. This boy was around 16 and was easily as tall as Uncle Rob. Rob pointed at me and asked the kid to back off on the bullying or the kid would get it.

What happened next was, to me at least, one of the best retributions of my life. The kid yelled back at Uncle rob calling him an old man and telling Uncle Rob he was a ninja. Uncle Rob yelled, “Ninja this you little (can’ quite remember all the words that came next but you can use your imagination)”, picked him up by the scruff of his neck and lifted him right off his feet and pushed him up against the Dairy wall.

Needless to say in the next few seconds I was being apologized to by a humble high school punk and don’t ever recall being bullied by him again.

I remember feeling so proud to have Uncle Rob in my corner. I remember the feeling I had as Uncle Rob got back in the car and said, in a very casual manner, “doesn’t look like you need to worry about that kid any more.”

I loved my Uncle Rob very much. Distance and life has made less time recently for the adventures we shared when our families were younger, but the legacy of adventure, commitment and love that Uncle Rob provided as our families grew up together will be with me forever.

Our love and prayers are with all of you.

Cousin Mike and family.