Justin and Sharlyn O’Leary had their first date at the Beaudesert RSL – now known as The Club – 12 years ago, and the rest is history.
It all started with a text message from Justin, who had managed to get Sharlyn’s number from her uncle who he was working with at the time.
“Justin sent me a text one Sunday afternoon and he goes, ‘Hi Sharlyn, I got your number from your uncle. I was just wondering if you’d like to meet me at the RSL so I can flirt with you,” Sharlyn said.
“So that was our first date – I met him at the RSL for a drink one Sunday afternoon.”
The pair were married and bought their home in October 2011 and welcomed their first son Patrick, now 9, in August 2012.
They have since filled their home with an energetic young family, giving Patrick little brother Michael, 7, and sister Siale, 3.
At times, they have also opened up their home to young people they have met through Beaudesert Boxing Club.
Justin, who moved to Beaudesert from the Central Coast of New South Wales in his mid-20s, is one of five kids and his extended family still resides in Ireland.
Sharlyn moved here from Papua New Guinea when she was 15 and has family in PNG, where her mum lives and Cairns, where her dad lives.
The Beaudesert Bulletin caught up with the O’Leary family to hear their thoughts on family. Here’s what they had to say:
What does family mean to you?
Sharlyn: To me family is love, care and safety. When you have kids, they’re pretty much number one and you change your lifestyle for your kids.
Justin: The biggest change is you don’t just jump in the car and go somewhere like you used to – you’ve got other people to organise – which I actually like. It’s not a burden, being more organised and not just thinking of yourself. Thinking of other people is a good thing.
Sharlyn: We just like doing stuff together, it doesn’t matter what it is, even if we just watch a movie together. We like being out in the yard just pottering around and gardening.
Justin: We like going to sport with the oldest one – he plays cricket and football.
Sharlyn: It’s busy, but we enjoy it – it’s a full kind of busy.
Patrick: To me it means caring for each other and we’re in a group together
Michael: For me it’s being safe and (your family) staying with you.
Becoming Family is about celebrating families of all descriptions. If you’d like us to feature your family, or tip us off about a great Becoming Family story, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.