An edited version of Rin Norris' tribute to her children delivered at Scotch College yesterday.
For 12 years, two months and 11 days, my life was infinitely blessed by the existence of my eldest son, Mo Robert Anderson Maslin, "Mo man", "the dude". His gentleness, humour, incredible beauty and intelligence outshone the stars. I call on his public speaking genius to help me now.
For 10 years and two months exactly, the sweetness of my life was further intensified by the presence of my princess, Evie Coco Anne Maslin, "sweet-pea", "Evie-girl". The enormity of her strength and her gifts of deepest sensitivity, love and care were as endless as the universe. I call on her strength to help me now.
For eight years, one month and 13 days, I had the phenomenal fortune to be the mother of Otis Samuel Frederick Maslin, aka Otie-Bob, Bobbie, Timmy, Otie and Doug. The fire puppy whose supreme social skill, wonderful laughter and crazy random humour created a feeling of ease with everyone he met. His different system of thinking was wise beyond his years. I call on his distinct and different way of perceiving the world to help me now.
My three kids filled my world with a joy like a huge and ginormous balloon filled with lollies, chuckles, sunshine, and indescribable happiness. They filled my soul with contentment and quiet pride. They filled my mind with questions, answers, value, beauty and fun.
They taught me so much, these wise little teachers. They taught me the names of Dockers players and the rules of AFL. They taught me to speak Chinese and all the capital cities.
They taught me the tallest buildings in the world and the names of the Greek Gods. They taught me the flags of the world, how to climb trees, Ben and Jerry ice-cream flavours and that chips in milkshakes actually taste pretty good.
They taught me to choose my battles, to be cool and not embarrassing. They taught me how to make loom bands, to play guitar and to appreciate the dunes just as much as the ocean . . . that reading is not the only way to learn.
They taught me to sing every day and to laugh at myself.
They taught me the butter doesn't need to spread to every corner of the toast and that if Otis' pants are on back to front, "Mum, it just doesn't matter".
I tried to impart the sense of independence that my dad valued so highly. I hugged them to take away their pain.
When I tucked them in at night I hugged them close to my heart and told them I loved them all around the world and to the stars and back, and to have sweet dreams.
When their innocent bodies were shot out of the sky, I stretched my arms as high as I could and screamed for them.
Now, I see them only in my head. I can't touch them. I can't feel their warmth.
I can imagine the memory of their bodies close to mine and the love in my heart will always be open for them.
My arms will always be reaching for them.