First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. It’s a job with long hours and low pay, but motherhood is something we all benefit from. (Do yourself a favor and checkout NBA MVP Kevin Durant’s speech thanking his mom.)
My mother is, for lack of a better word, a saint. She’s not perfect by any means, but she is most certainly perfect for me. Eva Brown was born outside of Memphis, TN, the youngest daughter of a family of sharecroppers. At a young age, she decided that education was her life’s calling and decided to become a teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis (then Memphis State) and two master’s degrees, one from Western Kentucky University, the other from the University of Louisville. She taught school in Louisville, KY for the better part of 30 years, helping those kids that needed extra help and providing guidance for those that needed an extra push. Since I was little, the times have been few where we’ve gone out and not been stopped by one of her former students. Each one being grateful for that one moment that she said or did something that made their world better. And of all those students, I always found myself thinking how lucky I was because she was mom.
Sometimes, the “best” mother moniker is bestowed upon only single mothers or mothers that have overcome some out of the ordinary situation for their children. And while those mothers are certainly deserving of that praise, let’s not do it at the expense of the mothers that do just as much for their children in so-called “normal situations.” Every mother sacrifices. It wasn’t until my own wife was pregnant with our oldest that I understood the sacrifice of just insuring a healthy pregnancy. Mother’s begin that self-sacrifice from conception and continue onward. Whether she gives her child her last dollar or gives you the last piece of chocolate cake, there’s something inherent in the best mothers to make sure their children are taken care of first. And my mother isn’t any different.
My mom was my biggest fan, when no one else was. My mom said “You can do it” when nobody, myself included, thought I could. No matter what I did, I could always count on her to be in my corner, it’s been that way for 36 years and I never see that changing. So, now that she’s older than when I was growing up, her hair has more gray and she doesn’t move as swiftly as she used to, I think back to all those little life lessons that she taught me and that I’m now sharing with my children. My mom is the best boo-boo kisser. She’s the best brownie maker. She makes the best spaghetti I’ve ever eaten. When I was at the University of Kentucky, my mother would write me weekly letters and she had the uncanny knack of somehow saying exactly what I needed to hear. To this day when I call, she knows within moments if something’s wrong, Mom’s just know.
My mother isn’t the biggest sports fan in the world. In fact, she could probably do without it. But, since she cares about me, she used to ask my how my childhood hero, Jerry Rice, would do on Sundays. Growing up I was a UL Cardinal fan, she would make it a point to save the sports section of the paper, so I could read all about the exploits of Pervis Ellison and Milt Wagner. She even got my all time favorite Cardinal, Lancaster Gordon, to sign a trading card for me (I still have it to this day and is one of my most treasured possessions). And when I went to UK and converted to the Big Blue Nation, she bought a “UK Mom” sweatshirt and put a UK bumper sticker on her car.
Perhaps the biggest lesson my mom taught me is to pursue your dreams. No dream is too big if you prepare yourself to achieve it. Moms just know what to say and how to say it. It’s what makes them special. It’s what makes them mothers.