Now, if we’re being honest, most of you know that when we got to a certain age we no longer wanted our mom to be around or show up at things where our friends (especially girl friends) would be.
At that age we want her to drop us off before we get to the school or park. We don’t want her to come to the junior high school event we’re in. It’s okay if she doesn’t show up at your birthday party she organized and paid for. You don’t mind if she misses a few of your games so you can hang out and fool around with your buddies after the game. But be your coach? Come on now mom! That violates all the rules of “coolness.”
You can you imagine the embarrassment of not only having your mom as your coach, but also hitting ground balls (trying anyway) and barking out awkward game strategy during the game; “come on boys”, “run, run, run”, “no, no, no”, “get it, get it, get it.” And to top it off she didn’t even wear a Baseball cap because it wouldn’t fit over that 1960’s “Do” (if you know what I mean).
But the true story behind the story is that my mom was just doing what any great mom does and that’s be protective of her children.
You see, my brother and I always played on the same team because we are only one year apart in age. So here we were on the same team that had an alcoholic for a coach. When I think about it, I’m not sure how the league (other adults who organized and ran the league) would allow a man who was always drunk at practice and during the game to even be a coach of young boys. But then again, those were the days when those kind of things were not really given much thought and were overlooked as just part of the way things were.
Carl wasn’t a bad man. He just drank too much. Sometimes he wouldn’t even show up for practice or the games. And often times he would go up into the bushes at the park and drink during practice and the games and come back and try to run practice or coach the game. Talk about embarrassing. In my moms’ case, my father was also an alcoholic and I can understand why she wasn’t going to allow another one to influence her two boys even more with a lifestyle that had destroyed her marriage and family life. Unlike too many parents today concerned with their life, careers, socializing and TV shows, my mom went out of her way and sacrificed so much of “her time” to do the best she could to protect us from all the negative elements we were surrounded by: gangs, drugs, violence, alcohol and all the things that are common to neighborhoods of poverty.
I remember our landlord (that’s being generous since he was really a slum lord) was also an alcoholic. He would always come over drunk knocking at our door for the rent and my mom wouldn’t even let him in (he was the owner after all) and then get into a shouting match because she had already paid the rent and knew he was just trying to bully a single mom for more money. I could go on with war story after war story about my mom, “the Baseball coach”, but the point is where would I be if it hadn’t been for all of her time, protection, arguments, and support all those early years and even up to the present day? Really, where would I be? Where would you be without the love and support of your mom? Where would the community, nation and, yes, even the whole world be without MOM? Some of history’s most accomplished leaders acknowledged their mothers with helping them achieve their success:
• “Men are what their mothers made them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
• “The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
• “All that I am, my mother made me.” – John Quincy Adams
• “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Abraham Lincoln
• “God could not be everywhere, so He created mothers.” – Jewish proverb
I think Mother’s Day was a great idea. I don’t know who thought it up or how it came to be, but it’s just a great time for us all to reflect on the important things and people—person—in our life. I realize there are those who can’t really enjoy the day for many reasons. Some have lost their mother either physically through death or perhaps divorce, or, even worse, abandonment. While others have lost her emotionally because of some kind of family dysfunction of one kind or another. For those of you living in one of those categories, my heart goes out to you. For those who have been separated from your mom I offer you to find solace and comfort in your current loved ones and to press into the love from above. For those separated by past or current “issues” I offer you the courage to consider two of the most powerful and important human responses: forgiveness and reconciliation. What a better time to write that letter or send that card in a gesture of hope and restoration of relationship?
For all those who have kids of your own, and now realize how “smart” your mother truly was, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! And of course, a special shout out to my mom, the baseball coach – HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MOM! I LOVE YOU!
Oh, and for the record, that one season my mom helped Carl coach my Baseball team, we won the league championship…just saying.