Chix Chat Pro Football

Hi Mom!

Posted by Thursday, May 10, 2012

For years TV cameras have zoomed in on football players along the sidelines after they’ve scored a big touchdown. Some engage in trash talking, others pound their chests and some hold up that famous digit. And then there are those who simply say, “Hi Mom!”

It’s a very simple response to the presence and pressures of the camera really. It’s also very honest and genuine because when you stop and think about it and you remove all of the other distractions, fan hoopla and window dressing, the most vital, natural, safest and essential connectivity to another human being is that to our mothers.

I lost my Mom on September 27, 1989. She was 51 years young. There has never been a day since when she's escaped my thoughts.

When you lose someone that you love dearly, particularly your Mom, there is a journey that nearly everyone travels in order to complete the mourning process. In many ways it’s like a one year cycle during which you experience their birthday, your birthday and all of the holidays in a calendar year without them. You reflect upon the memories and it’s those memories that keep them alive in your mind, heart and soul.

I’ve learned to deal with my Mom’s passing, perhaps more so than my Dad and my sister. I’m comforted by the fact that she didn’t suffer much when we lost her in those final days and by the wonderful relationship which I’m so blessed to have shared with her. That’s not to say that my Dad and sister didn’t share that – they absolutely did and they adored her. Maybe I’ve just rationalized her passing a little better than them and I know she’s in a better place free of the ailments that took her from this state of consciousness.

That being said, the one day during which all that rationalization and all that acceptance of her passing flames out for me is on Mother’s Day. In my own private way, I still say, “Hi Mom”, yet on Mother’s Day I’m reminded that the mourning isn’t over and perhaps it never will be.

It’s funny in an unusual way that I never think to go to the cemetery to pay respects to my Mom during the year – except on Mother’s Day. I can’t explain it. I don’t go there any time during the year because I know she’s not there. She lives within me. Yet on Mother’s Day, I feel compelled to go to her burial site, give her a few flowers and say hello.

Maybe I’m just jealous of all of you who really can go to their Moms and say, “Happy Mother’s Day” and give them a hug and a kiss.

David Gates nailed it when he sang:

"I would give everything I own, just to have you back again…just to touch you once again."

Wow!

I hope you don't mind me sharing a few quick stories about my Mom I guess in part as an ode to her memory. I hope you are compelled to share a few of yours too below…

My Mom didn’t come to many of my little league baseball, football or basketball games. That was something that Dad did while Mom tended to my younger sister. But when she did come, I remember her quiet pride. You could see it. Mom was never one to boast to other parents or to other aunts and uncles about me or my sister. She believed that good deeds and success stories spoke for themselves and by not boasting about them, the accomplishments were more pure and if the accomplishments were truly deserving, others would speak of them without her prodding. That’s a lesson I’ve carried with me.

Once in a little league game, I tripled three times. And while that sounds like a pretty good game, I was devastated. You see my Dad was the third base coach and each time I rounded second heading for third, Dad waived me home. Each and every time I was thrown out at the plate. After the last failure to stretch a triple into a homerun, I laid face down at home plate, pounding my fist on the dish that I failed to reach before being tagged out on three consecutive at bats.

Dad of course picked me up and told me to get my glove and get back out on the field.

Mom after the game simply said, “That was a good game and your team won.”

Even at the age of 9 those words cut through the air and I realized how silly and selfish I had been. My team won and that’s what mattered most.

Fast forward to my late 20’s, just a year before Mom passed. I played fast pitch softball for a team called Tom's Tropicals, the fish store on BelAir Road near Joppa Road. We were playing in Salisbury, MD and I was staying with my parents, sister and brother-in-law at the Calypso on 62nd Street in Ocean City. It was a weekend double elimination tournament. Our team was still alive so we were to play again on Sunday following a couple of Saturday wins.

At that time, we wore red jerseys and I asked my Mom to wash my uniform for me. Now just prior to me moving out of Mom and Dad’s house, my Mom had developed this habit of screwing up my laundry. Any time something faded or bled in the wash, the clothing belonged to me. So I asked her to be careful in a slightly sarcastic way never thinking that she would screw it up again.

She did.

My long white sanitary socks that we wore under our stirrup socks turned from white to a beautiful shade of pastel pink. To this day, I can picture her pulling those socks from the wash in that Calypso condo, holding them up and saying, “Uh-oh.”

During Mom’s burial mass, Fr. Vincent Gluc, a friend of our family and former teacher of mine at Archbishop Curley, used a wonderful metaphor comparing life on Earth to a caterpillar. When we pass, we enter a stage comparable to that of the caterpillar’s cocoon only to emerge as beautiful butterflies in the next life.

A few summers after Mom’s passing I was standing at the tee of the sixth hole at Pine Ridge Golf Course. As I was addressing the ball, a stunning butterfly seemingly came from nowhere and landed on my chest and stared me right in the eye. It just sat there for a moment that seemed like an hour. I remember smiling and saying, “Hi Mom.”

And with that, Mom flew away towards the direction of my fairway target.

I don’t think that I’ve ever hit a better tee shot before or since.

Enjoy your Mom on Mother’s Day. Make her feel special. She deserves it because let’s face it, when life boils down to its simplest equation, there’s no bond greater than that between a Mother and her child.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms everywhere.

You are the essence of life.

2 comments

  1. Momma Mac Says:
  2. What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your Mom, Tony. There is no doubt that she is very proud of the man you have become. Happy Mother's Day to everyone including my own. Thanks Mom, for putting up with my crap for almost 41 years.

     
  3. Sue Says:
  4. Well said Tony, thank you for sharing. This warmed my heart and I can truly relate in many ways. My Mom passed away July 17, 1999. I find myself thinking of her wishing that I could just call her up and ask a question or share something that has happened in Alana's life who was her pride & joy for 8 short years. Hoping our Mom's see what our lives have amounted to Tony and that they are smiling down on us as they guide us in their own special way!

     

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