Carissa Tombs remembers mornings where her mum would try to get ahead of the 5am bus from Palm Beach to Wynyard just so her daughter could hop on at the next stop to make it to work. It was just one of the many sacrifices Marlene Dalwood made to ensure Carissa kept her gig at a corporate gym in the city while pursuing an international netball career.
"We lived at Avalon so she'd be chasing the bendy bus around Bilgola Bends trying to get ahead of it so I could get on and be at work by six," Carissa recalled with a laugh. "Then there were all the lifts to training, lifts to games, lifts to airports and all the national and international trips mum and dad used to take."
Tombs (nee Dalwood) OAM is one of Australian netball's most revered figures, representing her country 96 times. She played in three world championship-winning teams, two gold medal Commonwealth Games sides and is a member of the NSW and Australian Netball Hall of Fame.
As we approach Mother's Day, Carissa reflected on her mum's selflessness and commitment - traits she is now carrying on with her own daughters, Latika (20), Talani (18) and Ukeisha (14).
"My mum was and still is incredible - best mum ever - so I was very fortunate to have such a great role model and inspiration," the Collaroy 51-year-old said. "I'd like to think I've drawn on that as a mother myself. I have a newfound appreciation for my mum after becoming a mother."
Tombs has coached all three of her daughters, with Latika following in her mother's representative footsteps via the Giants' Super Netball squad. "There are a lot of sacrifices and a lot of running around but you do it because you love it and you see the enjoyment the kids get out of playing sport," Carissa said. "I love being a mum and am so happy to have three girls. I've got shopping and coffee partners for life!"
The three girls clearly adore mum, the love between them obvious as they take the mickey out of each other at our photo shoot. Talani said: "She means everything to us. She has sacrificed a lot to be there for us. Even when she's not having the best of days she still shows us so much love. She's a lot of fun. She's a bigger kid than us!"
To all the mothers out there - sporting or not - enjoy your Sunday and make sure you get and well and truly spoilt.
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