"To my Mum: For all the years of care, concern and sacrifice, I appreciate, love and honour you. Happy Mother's Day!"
This week also marks the third anniversary of what has become known in Hawke's Bay history as The Napier Siege, which started the Thursday before Mother's Day in 2009. It was an event which will be forever etched in the memories of literally hundreds of people directly affected.
As a press photographer, I saw several different perspectives to the drama, and as I took a day off to celebrate Mother's Day with my Mum-in-law, my wife and my family, I felt compelled to write the following opinion piece. It was published in Hawke's Bay Today as an editorial, and in many respects, it still sums up my feelings about Mums. They are awesome!
Difficult time for mothers to celebrate
Monday, May 11, 2009
Much of New Zealand would have celebrated Mother's Day yesterday with the traditional breakfast-in-bed, and gifts of chocolates and flowers.
Mums are special, they are loved, and it would be hard to imagine life without them.
In Napier however, Mother's Day came at the end of a three-day siege, which started with the shooting of Senior Constable Len Snee - and ended with the death of gunman Jan Molenaar.
Two mothers lost a loved one - Mr Snee's wife Vicki is left without a husband and father for their two sons, and Anna Molenaar lost her second son in six years, the first to suicide.
Hundreds of other mums were also affected by the siege on Hospital Hill.
Mothers of the critically-injured police officers and civilian waited anxiously to see whether their boys would pull through.
On Thursday, Napier schools were inundated by calls from anxious mums, checking that their kids were okay. Some had to wait for hours before their little ones were released into their care.
Other mums had sons and daughters trapped inside the cordon, their only contact by phone.
There were the neighbours who, for no fault of their own, were locked down for more than two days, in some cases not even being able to move around inside their home. Anyone who's tried to entertain kids during the holidays will identify with that scenario.
There were the evacuated mums who went into overdrive, creating temporary homes with family, friends or in motels, struggling to bring a level of normality into the lives of those they love.
And there were the mums of the police and Armed Offenders Squad staff who went in on our behalf. Many would have called home to say they were okay, or that they were about to go in, not really knowing what the outcome would be. They too could have been added to the list of casualties.
In Napier this week, mums waited, mums prayed, mums supported, mums hoped.
Mothers have a remarkable capacity to see the best, to believe the best and to hope for the best for their kids, whatever their age.
For at least two mums last week, those hopes and aspirations were extinguished.
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Vicki, the wife of slain policeman Len Snee, and Anna, the mum of gunman Jan Molenaar.
To all other mums: Much of your work goes unappreciated, and too often, is not even noticed.
Remember, we appreciate and value you.