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Mother’s Day thoughts from a Freo mum

Freo mums get a special surprise following the Mother's Day game in 2015. All the players' kids gave their darling mothers some flowers for Mother's Day

It was a day to remember when Alex Pearce made his debut on Mother’s Day weekend against Essendon at Subiaco Oval in 2015.

His mum Karen Pearce was there to see her then 19-year-old son play his first game of AFL footy. Four years into Alex’s career, Karen gives an insight into what it’s like to be the mother of a Freo Docker.

I remember being very calm in the lead-up to Alex’s debut game.

It was the night before Mother’s Day but at the time it wasn't about me. It was lovely afterwards to be given flowers from him, although I’m not sure if it was him or the club that organised them!

Before the game, my husband Scott was quite emotional but I was taking it all in - having a champagne and thinking ‘this is great’.

And then Alex ran onto the ground with the team and they went through the banner.

It suddenly hit me. I thought ‘oh, this is really happening’ and the tears just ran down my face.

Then he touched the ball for the first time and the crowd gave him this massive cheer. I realised then that this was bigger than anything I ever imagined it to be.

To me, Alex and his younger sister Georgia were easy, beautiful children to raise. I loved every stage because they were both just so warm and loving.

Growing up, Alex was the child who seemed to hit every milestone before he was supposed to hit it.

He just loved Georgia from the moment she was born. If he was asked to get a nappy he would get a one and they would often sit together on the couch.

They never used to fight.

Alex, Karen and Georgia

I remember when I was carrying Georgia, if I was tired we would sit and watch Star Wars together.

He knows all the Star Wars movies all the way through. When he was very little I would put the movie on for him, and at the start he would always call for me to read the words as they ran up the screen.

Alex was also very sporty.

He had every shape and size of ball and bat you could imagine.

I used to coach him at soccer and he was always a team player, which you can tell on the field. 

He had an innate knowledge of the game and he always knew where to put the ball.

Before we knew it, Alex was 18 and he had been drafted. Within days he was off on a plane to Western Australia.

The night before he moved, I wasn’t handling it very well but I knew that he would be okay.

It was tough knowing that he was moving away and, apart from visits, he wouldn’t be coming back.

I remember he said goodbye to me and he asked ‘are you okay?’ and I turned around and said ‘no I’m not’ and I hugged him and cried. 

I knew this was it. But I also knew I’d done what I could do as a mum to prepare him. He could cook and he could wash and he could look after himself.

Karen and Alex

It’s surreal watching Alex on TV from home but I guess you just get used to it. 

When Alex broke his leg, we were down in Hobart for Georgia’s State riding competition. 

I couldn’t bear to watch so I just left the room. 

Afterwards I’m talking to him on the phone and he’s trying to tell me ‘it’s not very painful, it’s ok’ but I’m sure he was fibbing.

A day would go by and he’d tell me he had surgery and he was fine.

All I wanted to do was get on the next plane but he asked me to wait another week. I think he could have done with my help but he just wouldn’t admit it. 

Because I’m a nurse, at one point he was given permission to come home as I was able to give him the IV antibiotics that he had to take. 

I felt useful to him again because he’s just so independent now. 

Just the other day when I was in Perth he brought me a t-shirt and asked me to get the stain out and I was overjoyed!

It’s hard to give Alex a simple message because just to say ‘we’re proud of you’ - it doesn’t seem enough.

Of course we’re proud. We’re proud that he’s a good footballer and that he’s doing well in life. 

We’re proud that he’s a leader and a magnificent role model, particularly to the younger players.

But most of all, we’re proud of the person that he is and if I’ve played some role in that, then that’s my role as a mother fulfilled.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs