She told me that my friend Reeve had nominated me for the 'Mother of the Year' and that I was in the top six finalists for Tasmania. I think I said something like 'What!? Are you kidding!?' before she went on to read out what Reeve had written about me.
I was blown away that Reeve would take the time to do something so nice for me, and what he wrote was so lovely. Reeve and I were friends when we were in our late teens/early twenties and moved to Queensland from Tassie almost twenty years ago, and we have kept in touch over the years but only see each other every five years or so when he visits family in Tassie.
This is Reeve's nomination:
Lisa and her husband Aaron had four sons; Jalen, Noah, Harri and Kobe. Their second son, Noah, was born with a condition called “Hydranencephaly”. Noah’s brain was under-developed and mostly fluid.
Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, Lisa and Aaron were an inspiration to many with the way they tackled this challenge. They were told that Noah would only ever have the mental capacity of a 3-month-old and would only live for a few years. He could do nothing for himself. Lisa (a qualified teacher) became his full time carer. Due to their obvious love and positivity Noah made it to his 10th birthday before his tired body eventually gave out.
Most of us thought that Noah’s passing would be a “release” of sorts for the Kings but they genuinely struggled without their “little monkey.” Lisa and her family slowly learned to cope without Noah, but then horror of horrors - on a rare family holiday a few months later Aaron suffered a fatal heart attack on Australia Day, in 2012. He was only 39.
We all wondered how Lisa would cope with this double tragedy. She has, however, continued to be inspirational, upbeat and to think of others. Lisa is a regular “blogger” and has inspired many people around the world with how she has remained positive throughout her ordeals. She has twice been voted Australian “mum blogger of the year”.
Lisa often gets recognised in public and thanked by someone who has been inspired by her story and her fortitude. Lisa has returned to work as a teacher for refugee children who have English as their second language. Lisa's dedication to making sure her three remaining sons enjoy life is nothing short of an inspiration.
She wanted to confirm that all the information was correct, and then went on to ask me if I was to make the top three for Tasmania, if I would be able to come to the awards ceremony in Hobart in April. I remember laughing and saying 'I'll say yes because I know I won't have to, and if I need to I'll work it out' before she told me she would email me all the paper work I would need to sign and send back. She asked for someone to be my referee, so I told her to ring my friend Simone, and then quickly rang Simone when we hung up and told her about the call. Simone laughed and said she knew that Reeve had nominated me a long time ago, because he had contacted her about it.
I was in total shock all day and told my family, but I have to admit that I actually felt a little embarrassed about it and just couldn't bring myself to tell anyone else. I was honored that Reeve would nominate me, but just didn't think I deserved it at all, because there are so many amazing Mums out there, and I guess we all feel like we could be doing a better job.
I had to get my paperwork signed by a witness, and went over to school on one of my days off to ask a friend/colleague to sign it for me. I remember walking into her classroom and feeling so nervous to tell her what I needed her to do, because I felt weird saying 'I've been nominated for Mother of the Year'. I told her and she started screaming and said 'I just said the other day that you deserve a medal! You're totally going to win!' which made me laugh. I told her I didn't deserve it and I wouldn't get any further than sixth and not to tell anyone else. She was just a little bit excited about it, and I slowly started to learn that she couldn't help but spread the news, and had told some of my other colleagues! Thanks Jacky! ;)
A few weeks ago Reeve rang me and was very excited because he had just seen an email from Barnados saying I was in the top three for Tasmania. I thought he was actually joking but got the same email, with all the details about the awards ceremony for Tasmania. We were told that the Premier Will Hodgman would be presenting the award and that Reeve would be flown down from Queensland for it.
When I found out I was in the top three finalists, I realised I then had to tell my friends about it as I was able to invite family and friends to it. Of course when I told them, they were all very excited about it and couldn't wait for the award ceremony.
On Tuesday we traveled down to Hobart with Mum, and were lucky enough to spend the night at The Old Woolstore as they are one of the sponsors of the awards.
We had a two bedroom apartment, so the boys and I slept in one room, and Mum had the other side.
Kobe cracked me up when he found a bible in the drawer. He yelled 'how do they know we go to church!?'.
The boys were so excited - especially about the free wifi! I reminded them that they could get that at home, so we didn't hang around long in the room.
Dad passed away.
It was held yesterday at the Premier's reception room which had amazing views.
Each of the nominators had to read out their tribute and then each of us were asked a couple of questions. I was asked how I remain so strong and how I felt when I was nominated. I didn't expect at all to get emotional, but when I looked up and saw all of my friends and family with tears in their eyes, I couldn't help but get emotional as well. I said that I just try to live my life to make Aaron and Noah proud of us, and that they wouldn't want us to give up. I also said how shocked, humbled and honored I felt to be nominated.
After the three nominees had our tributes read, the Premier gave a speech about how important it is to recognise good mothers, and how much his mother influenced his life. He then announced the winner and I couldn't believe that it was me!
The three of us were given some beautiful flowers, as well as some lovely prizes including gift vouchers, kitchen items and gift packs.
As soon as it was announced there were so many cameras everywhere.
Everyone was very excited for me and there were lots of tears.
There was a morning tea afterwards but I was taken away for photos and interviews with the media. There were so many people taking photos and videoing that I joked that it felt like my wedding day.
This is with the Premier, the M.C. Georgia Love who is a news reporter for WIN Television, a lady from Barnados and Jacquie Petrusma who is a politician who I had actually been in contact with before Noah passed away. We were really struggling to provide Noah with all of his needs because of the lack of funding, and Jacquie had been so kind in taking our story to parliament. It was so lovely to finally meet her.
While we were getting our photo taken with the Premier, Jalen heard him say to one of his 'people' (they have people right!?) to upload a photo onto Twitter. We were very excited to see it up on his Twitter and Facebook page not long after.
After photos inside we were taken out to the courtyard for interviews.
The boys were asked questions as well, and said some lovely things but kept cracking up at each other's answers. Kobe was asked what he thought of his Mum and he said 'she's pretty good' which absolutely cracked everyone up! I said to him later 'I'm pretty good am I Kobes?' and he said 'I meant to say you are really, really good but I forgot what I wanted to say!'.
The reporters kept saying how awesome the boys were, and I told them not to quote them too much! ;)
Chelsea and Alison were taking photos and these photos make me laugh. Simone and Bec were obviously enjoying the morning tea, sitting up in the Premier's reception room!
It was all still sinking in and I was getting so many phone calls and messages from friends and family who had heard the news, as it was all over the media already. I don't think I realised what a big deal it would be. My cousin Toni rang me saying she had heard it on the news on the radio!
While we had lunch I was still getting phone calls asking if I could do a radio interview via phone while we were driving home. We had to pull over on the side of the highway to do the interview.
On the way home Mum was reading the online articles that were already put up. The articles from The Examiner is here, The Mercury is here, and the ABC is here. When we got home we had a photographer from The Examiner come to our house to take a photo, as they wanted to put it on the front page, as they didn't have a photographer in Hobart. Mum got to be his assistant :)
It was on the news on two TV channels last night and I just recorded it using my phone so my brother and sister could see it as they are on the mainland. Hopefully I can get a proper copy sometime. I crack up laughing every time I see the boys interviewed as they kept giggling at each other.
Last night Kobe kept saying 'I just can't believe it Mum!' and Harri said 'do you feel different now Mum? You were always special, but now you're even more special' which was so lovely. This morning I started getting messages early from people who had seen it in the paper. The photo turned out really nice. You can read the article online here. It's nice to have Mum included in the photo online.
It's been a crazy couple of days and I feel like I still haven't caught up on all the messages from so many people. Thank you to everyone for all of your support and love, and thank you especially to Reeve for being so kind in nominating me. I still don't think I deserve it, but it's lovely to be recognised for something that I love doing and for something that is so important.
I still can't really believe it and am very nervous but excited about going to Sydney for a few days for the national award with the other state finalists, which will be announced on Mother's Day.