Welcome family, friends. Right from the start Mandy had character.
Born this day in 1988 she had an impact. By instinct she knew that if she bawled loud enough it was feedtime.
As a toddler she managed to somehow swing out of her cot, clutching the crib, grabbing the overhanging line for cardboard animal decorations, and slide down.
First, it was crawl! Crawl! Then run, run! Being independent. Wanting to do things her way.
One thing she used to hate when she was sleepy was the light. Our first house — and here comes a confession — was in Ashfield! Yes, we belong to the “Ashy tribe”. Amanda was born an Ashy girl.
That terrace place in Elizabeth Street was old. Instead of switches it had long strings to click on and off the lights. Even today, everyone in the family when they want to go to sleep, say “click”. Lights out. And make out we are pulling the light strings.
Mandy loved being creative. No wonder she is at the Whitehouse — the other White House — doing very well in her fashion degree.
Though this creative edge had some interesting beginnings. As a little girl, she refused to wear pretty dresses. She went through the “everything needs to be black” phase. Then there was a fashion phase.
When we moved to Strathfield, Mandy found one of mummy’s lipsticks, her hands — and somehow her knees — were covered in red gloss. She walked and stamped her presence on the carpet. The carpet was previously a light apricot, thin carpet. Now you know why we later decided on a dark blue colour.
Once I woke up from a Saturday nap to find my favourite casual shoes stamped. Stamped with a little fairy stamp on both shoes. Those shoes are here tonight.
Ahh. The stories I could tell. Not all of them. But a few.
The zoo in Shanghai.
Mandy Katie the mouse monster
The Tongan and the dressing down.
Stop pulling my pants down!
We were at the movies. Ever see Jurassic Park? Those big, scary dinosaurs. Mandy watched most of it with her head facing the seat and her bottom facing the screen.
You know our Wentworth Road, Strathfield, house. We were robbed three times. As a parent, I had to be alert. One Saturday morning, when Mandy was 7, I got a call on the internal telephone:
“Dad! Wake up!”
“Mandy, I am tired.”
“No dad! I think I saw a burglar. Outside!”
I rushed downstairs. Alarmed. My eyes darted around, looking for trouble.
Mandy was beaming.
“Daddy,” she said, “I want a peanut butter and honey sandwich.”
The worst thing about that story is how can you do that? Peanut butter & honey is so 1990s.
Mandy is not only fun, cheeky, and with that great smile. She also has a keen sense of justice.
Like this year. Remonstrating with the police over someone she thought was being picked on.
Mandy loves and depends on her family and friends. She loves both her independence and being a homebody content with family. She has always had good taste in friends. She needs us. She will do anything for us. She is the definition of fiercely loyal.
In many ways, her life has been great. But it has never been easy street for Mandy. At school it was tough. Reading was hard, more than a chore. Thank heavens for the Harry Potter books. And tutoring. And now look!
We all know Mandy’s mum is fighting for dear life at Concord Hospital. Mary insisted this party must go on.
Life is meant to be celebrated.
We love her deeply. Life has just begun.
Whether it be her new fashion label idea — Babedelicious — or simply, another “gathering”.
This is no ordinary birthday. Mum and dad are proud of you. Your sis too.
You are a spark in the dark, a rainbow after the storm.
Happy Birthday Mandy!