Tēnā koutou. Ko Rimutaka te maunga. Ko Te Awa Kairangi te awa. Ko Whanganui-a-Tara te mana moana. Ko Pito-one te tāhuna. Ko Ben Nevis te waka. Ko Ngāti Pākehā te iwi. Nō Korokoro, Te Awa Kairangi tōku kāinga. Ko Cheryl Amys tōku whaea. Ko Peter Glensor tōku matua. Ko Sarah Amy Glensor Best tōku ingoa. Ko Richard Best tōku hoa tāne. Ko Lucy, ko Sophie rātou ko Kendra āku tamāhine. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Kia ora. My name is Sarah Amy Glensor Best. Sarah, after a friend of my parents (it seems everyone had a good friend called Sarah to name their daughters after in the 70s). Amy, as following my herstory for at least 6 generations, through Wesleyan missionaries on Viwa Island in Fiji, to my eldest daughter to date. Glensor, my maiden name (and the made up name my dodgy smuggler/pirate ancestors chose when they escaped to The Land of the Long White Cloud during the 19th Century). And Best, the first generation NZ family with roots in England and Trinidad & Tobago that I have married into. This is me.
I am her. The woman who grew up amongst equal parts annoying and inspiring tireless activism and community care. My first word was purported to be “wadical.” I am the girl who needed a surreptitious check of her left hand to check that the “L” was there (still checking…) though could vault, tumble, balance and swing to national gymnastics heights. The child actress who was far too shy to ask out the boys she liked or “do stuff”.
I am the maths whiz who became a computer programmer before realising that working with other human beings was far more beneficial to the soul. The toe-the-line straight-A student who began to question the world’s interactions in earnest after graduating from teenagehood. The young adult who developed an antennae for poor communication and cop-out lack of responsibility both in myself and those around me.
I am the independent person, not overly keen on monogamous relationships, nor children, who asked her man to marry her and then happily greeted her female body’s call for procreation during her late 20s; who took on motherhood with a determination to manage this project, just as she had the million dollar IT ones previously.
I am the mother, waddling up to her local Playcentre with no clue about what Playcentre was. The motivated woman who took on many roles as soon as the haze of having 2 under 2 began to lift. The community activist had begun to emerge…
Ha haa! It was the training that got me! By the time my third child came along I was Playcentred and Brainwaved and my lucky third daughter reaped the benefits of my understanding of the science behind child development, and the importance of creating a culture of respect in human interactions.
This is not to say that the others missed out. Well, no, actually they did, to some extent. Because I was beginning my parenting learning at the current baseline of our society’s attitude to children – “what ratbags and hard work they are” – along with adjusting to not being taken very seriously anymore due to having become “just a mum” rather than the hot-shot big-buck-earning London-strutting Project Manager (note the capitals and the lack of them above) that I had been in previous years. Luckily for my elder children though I had wise and generous mentors supporting my parenting journey and I opened my eyes to the power games and injustices our children endure. I quickly became something of a pusher of boundaries, a stretcher of the imagination for what is possible, a passionate advocate for the sanctity of childhood.
In short, I reclaimed little Sarah, the one I’d sent off to sleep decades ago because it “wasn’t nice” to challenge the status quo. So by child number 3, it was fair to say, I was awake to what I saw happening all around me, along with my own learned reactions to life, and I determined to make a difference for our future generations.
This is me.