My extraordinary Mum turns 70 this week. I love her. Here’s a few of the countless reasons why:

Her green eyes
Her smile
Her louuuud laugh
Her penchant for ‘Tweed’ perfume
Her fierce loyalty to family
Her limitless love of her three boys
She constantly lets me know I am the favourite of her three boys

Her slippers
Her dressing gowns
The look on her face when, in Year Seven, dressed as a leprechaun, I took the stage and sang some ribald Irish ditties at a parents’ thank-you night
The disgust she expresses when I say the word ‘scrotum’
When I was a nipper, she never discouraged me from learning the lyrics to ‘I’m a Model Husband’
She beat breast cancer
The peerless example she has set throughout her life as a mother, wife and friend
She loves a Chardonnay
She loves a party
She once went as Barbarella(!) to a fancy-dress

Her Irish blood
Her maiden name: Costigan
Her awful singing voice
She disdains rugby league
She unconditionally loves my Dad
She unconditionally loves my Dad, who loves rugby league, so she tolerates rugby league despite her disdain
Kathleen Rita, the Okanagan Lake boat belonging to Clinton Muckler in my new novel, Are You Seeing Me?, is named after her
Her adoration of her grandkids
How she worked shit jobs to give her boys a good education
Her gritted teeth
She loves the colour green
She met Dad on a blind date that she really wasn’t too sure about
She still calls out Dad for things he did in 1963
Her favourite movie is Madame X
She ALWAYS cries watching Madame X
Whenever us boys forgot to close the back door, she’d say “Shut the bloody door, Lawrence!” (as in ‘of Arabia’)
Passed down from her mother, she makes a lemon dream dessert known as ‘Heavenly Tart’
Her now world famous line: “It’s my birthday, I can do what I like!”
In the early nineties, she typed out my very first, hand-written book manuscript on a word processor
Her Sisyphean-like struggle for a clean and tidy house.
She’s genuine
She’s considerate
She’s appreciative
She’s honest as the day is long

Her insistence I put on sunscreen as a kid
Her warmth
Her amazement at having had the opportunity to travel to different parts of Australia and the world
The corned beef she would cook
She found a way to get my teeth fixed despite not having the dollars
She’s a great neighbour
She let me go to Schoolies
Her desire to learn about autism
Her favourite book is Bryce Courtenay’s April Fool’s Day
She learned to swim as an adult
She has an inukshuk in her garden
She loves ’50’s and ’60’s rock ‘n roll
She kept every school award won by her three boys, including walk-a-thon participation certificates
Her coleslaw
Her hugs
Her distinctive handwriting

chloe grandma
And this:

She adores being a grandmother
She’s old school
She’s not so old school that she won’t learn new things or try new experiences
Her feistiness
Her tenderness
Her heart
Her soul

I love that she loves like it’s her purpose for being on the planet

And I love everything else about her.

Happy 70th, Mum. xx