When we were kids, our playground was the beautiful waters of Lake Macquarie.
We used to go prawning - dragging our small nets through the seaweed.
Mostly, it was for bait. But sometimes, if we caught enough, mum would cook us up prawn crepes.
It's one of my favourite memories of an amazing woman. A natural mother who made wrangling three wilful boys seem easy.
Almost everybody's got those memories. The special moments, shared with your mum.
They surface this time of year.
For some reason, on Mother's Day, I always remember the time she realised the ‘baby' octopus I'd caught and was about to pick up was actually a deadly blue-ringed octopus.
One of those times when mum was the difference between a great story, and a painful experience.
Those bright moments, though, are tempered with much darker memories.
I remember getting pulled out of school when she had the accident.
I remember buying a small bunch of dried flowers, because I didn't have enough money for fresh.
I remember her being allowed to come home.
I remember the morning she woke up and couldn't make a fist.
I remember the ambulance leaving our house.
I remember refusing to kiss her goodbye in hospital, because I didn't recognise the woman whose breaths were forced by a machine.
For most of my life, Mother's Day has been one of reflection, rather than celebration.
But the joy is returning.
This year, I took my daughter shopping for my wife's present.
The gift was Miss Moneypenny's idea. And her choice.
I saw her eyes light up at the prospect of buying mummy something special.
I watched her look for what mummy would like. And discard the rest.
I realised, she's now living her own memories, that will last a lifetime.
And right now, at the age of 3, the most important person in Miss Moneypenny's life is her mum.
She's smart, is Miss Moneypenny.
Not that we're biased, but her mum and I reckon she'll be able to do anything when she grows up.
Some days, she wants to be a bus driver, some days a dentist. And every other day it's anything in between.
But when she was pretending to be a doctor recently, and mum asked her if she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, Miss Moneypenny replied "no".
"I want to be a mummy," she declared.
After all, doctors just save lives. Mums create life.
They feed us. They heal us. They clothe us. They hug us.
Mums teach us.
They play with us. They fight for us. And, when necessary, they fight with us.
Mums love us. No matter what.
And that remarkable selflessness should be celebrated.
This year, there'll be no time for sadness.
I'll be too busy enjoying the wonderful bond between the two most important ladies in my life. Creating good memories.
I'll thank my wife for being an incredible mother.
And I'll raise my glass to all mums. Passed and present.Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelCoombes
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