I have easily the most incredible mother. Its a big call, as there are no doubt plenty of incredible mothers out there. But I keep being blown away by how generous, loving and accepting she is. And after 5 years of living on the other side of the world to her, it’s such a gift to now have her in my life again. In fact, the major reason I came home was because it was important to me to spend time with family, and that decision, although difficult for many reasons, has validated itself again and again. It’s just so nice to be spoilt now and then. Living in London, without family, one had to develop a hard-skin, a fierce independence, a self-reliance that can be exhausting after a while. So to return and find that I could actually give up a bit of control, and trust that someone else would pick me up if I fell, and do such sweet kind surprising things for me, was just extraordinary. So, it was a wonderful opportunity to give a little back when it was Mum’s 60th birthday a few weeks ago.

My sister Cath and I organised part of the evening that Mum knew about, and then we organised the first part that she didn’t know anything about. The bit she knew about was dinner at a Greek restaurant in Glebe with a few of Mum’s friends. The bit she didn’t know about was an evening of decadence she had never experienced – to make her feel like the queen she really is.

First, we got Dad to get her ready several hours before she expected to. Then, Cath, Demis and I picked her up in a stretch limo, with champagne and a white chocolate cake. We then drove around for an hour, along the Haberfield bay, up to Observatory Hill, across the Harbour Bridge, and then down to Kirribilli point to see the Harbour pre-sunset. It was unspeakably magical. To see my mother come out of our childhood house, agape with awe at seeing this vehicle of luxury in our neighbourhood, and then her almost cry as she saw her kids waiting in surprise in the limo singing happy birthday. And my heart ached with joy to see her and Dad clasping hands, Mum so overcome with emotion and pride and love for her family she could hardly speak.

But the fun wasn’t over yet. We then drove back over the Harbour Bridge to the Shangri-La Hotel, and took Mum up to the top floor where one of Sydney’s best cocktail lounges awaited us. We sat by the window, and watched the sunset over all of Sydney, while we all had cocktails, crab, oysters, and prawns. Hideously expensive, but worth every cent to make Mum feel special.

Finally it was time to start the known part of the night, and meet our parent’s friends for dinner. By this time I was rather tipsy and so full, but we powered on through more delicious food and wine til we almost ruptured. But it was wonderful fun, and looking at my mother’s beautiful face, I was overwhelmed with pride and love for a woman who has taught me the meaning of family, loyalty, and love. I tell you, if I look anywhere near as good as my mother does when I am 60, I will be hugely pleased!