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This is one of my favourite photos. It shows me, my sisters and my mum in Coffs Harbour, around the mid 1970’s. The yellow blob in the background is the Big Banana. We went there many times, in the September school holidays. You could buy chocolate-covered frozen bananas on a stick. Trés chique.

As you can see, my mother was a seriously groovy seventies chick and absurdly young to have children. In fact, she had me, the eldest of the three, when she was only 21. Dad was the same age.

When I was little, I knew without a doubt that my mother was the smartest, prettiest and best mother in the world. I had to come through the usual selfish and judgmental teenage years before I knew that again, in an altogether different way.

Now I think how difficult it must of been to be so young, so free-thinking and so smart and raising children in the suburbs on the wage of a schoolteacher. I think of how brave my mother was, to enter university as a mature age student (thanks Gough), study, graduate and go to work, all while caring for a family. The work load imposed by three children is no joke, not to mention the emotional burdens that every mother carries.

Sentiment was not big in our family. My parents were too young to be sentimental and raised us with a mixture of humour, pop psychology and total disregard for tradition. I think that turned out all right, and maybe a lot better than some other methods. So at the risk of breaking family code, I am feeling sentimental after mother’s day; here’s to my brave, tough and beautiful mum. And to all mothers out there, doing every day the most demanding and most worthwhile job in the world, I hope you had a great day. You deserve it!

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