My mom picked up the game of golf when I was born. She figured, “If I ever want to see either of these two guys, I’d better learn how to play.” As it were, she’s been with me on the golf course ever since I could crawl around the fairways, ever since, and everywhere else.
She used to pick me up from school every day and take me out to the course, where she and I would play nine holes before heading home. She was with me for my first eagle, when I made my second shot on a par-4 from 75 yards out — before running over and tackling her. She was also the only one of us who saw my double eagle disappear a couple of years ago … I only saw her jumping, cheering and clapping.
My mom was there even when she shouldn’t have been. In my high school, seniors were permitted to leave school property during their free periods and lunch. One day a friend and I both had the last period free and decided there was no need to stick around. We were not skipping class, but decided we were no longer needed that day. Unfortunately, we were not seniors. Even more unfortunately, we decided to walk out the front door right in front of the principal. This is what ultimately led to my first and only Saturday morning detention — the third most daunting punishment, following the suspension and expulsion. Saturday 8 a.m. does not sound too terrible now, but for a 16-year-old, it’s stealing the most valuable few hours of the week. To put it in adult terms, I would equate this to forcing someone to stay awake for like three hours after getting home on a red eye Vegas flight. In that moment, all you want is a hug from your mother and a bed.
That morning my prayers were somewhat answered. Somewhere during our marathon cleaning of high school, my amazing mother appeared like an angel to save us with freshly-baked Krispy Kreme donuts. The warden of Shawshank was never as upset as our principal was that morning. But we did offer her a donut.
Then there was the time I couldn’t shake her. At age 16, I was in a death-defying car wreck. My friend and I were airlifted to the hospital, where I remained in intensive care for five days. Initially, I only ended up with a lacerated spleen, which was nothing short of a miracle. A small, two-door convertible was reduced to a soda can, save for the two passenger seats. If we were not wearing our seatbelts, there is no question neither my friend or I would be here today.
Over a week after I initially found myself in the emergency room, I developed a subdural hematoma. Because it was inside my skull, the pocket of fluid compressed against my brain, rendering me sick to the point of total dysfunction. A quick procedure to saw through my skull, insert a hose and drain the fluid, and I would be back to my normal self. Well, not before the longest, sleepless night of my life.
I was told by the nurses that I could not lay my head down and needed to keep it tipped toward the side on which the tube was protruding. I have not felt a more amazing, horrifying sensation than a tube sticking out of my skull. So as I lay there, sleepless in the dark intensive care hospital room, I insisted I was okay and that she go home to rest. She refused, to the point that she lied to me and told me she was going to sleep for 20 minutes, then go. She was there all night.
Years after the wreck, I was telling someone the whole story, and jokingly remarked, “I was really fine. Honestly, my parents got the worst of the accident.” I realized that it was absolutely true. Twice as old now, I cannot imagine what my mom was going through all night in that hospital room, and I can appreciate her being there, if for no other reason than she needed to be in the hospital as much as I did.
There are too many sons and daughters in the world without their mothers. Whether we are in pain, fear, joy, or just need a donut and a hug, we need our mothers to be there; that is what Sunday is for … the one day we can be there for her, give her a hug and tell her thanks for always being there.
I love you mom. Thanks for always being there. Happy Mother’s Day. •