Today is my first unattached Valentine’s Day since 1990, and all I can say is, “Damn! Really?” Well, at least my wallet is not as thin as it usually is this time of year. Actually, it’s much, much thinner.
Before I get into the ‘meat’ of this posting – or given that it’s Valentine’s, the dark chocolate core – I do have a quick follow-up from yesterday’s entry. I actually got a response from Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald! I am thrilled and smiling this Valentine’s day, but for all the wrong reasons!
So, since I don’t have anyone for which to buy roses, chocolate or really cheap wine, I turn my affections to a woman who has gone on too long unrecognized in my little corner of cyber space. This special woman is my mom. I realized recently that with as much as I have written about or mentioned my father, I have totally neglected my mother in what I write. And I hate to admit that this oversight is not entirely accidental.
See, my mom and I have always had a unique type of relationship. I guess we never got close, at least not the same way my dad and I ended up getting close. My relationship with my mom always was, and still continues to be, one of mother-son formality. One where she is not my buddy, not my confidant, but my mom. And the natural tension that exists between us is born in our distinct personalities. It’s truly amazing how two people who share blood, experience, heritage and familiarity can be so incredibly different.
And if my dad coached me through my formative years, calling the plays from the sidelines and making me run them ‘in practice’ over and over until I got it right, my mom was the O-line that protected me. My mom provided the pocket of safety for me to succeed. She opened the holes through which I could blast through and move ahead in my career, be it academic, professional or personal.
It was my mother who bore the brunt of my father’s alcoholic rage in those ‘dark days’ of my early youth. It was my mother who managed to feed a family of four on a $60 per week grocery budget. It was my mother who stayed up late drawing maps of South America for my social studies project. I was my mother who all too often went without so I would not have to.
And even though we all are limited by our flaws, my mother’s generosity and sincerity always overcome her lack of patience and need to ‘get involved’ in other people’s matters. She is always looking out for me, always asking how I am doing, always worrying whether I am eating right, sleeping enough, drinking too much. She’s a mom. She’s my mom. And she is the only mother I would ever want to have. I am who I am because of her, and I mean that in a manner of gratefulness. Because I believe success starts with parenting, and I got a major head start on everyone else by being born into my family.
So on this special day, all I can say is, “Mom. I love you. I don’t tell you enough how much you mean to me, and it is significantly easier to tell you with these written words than over the phone, let alone in person. You have always been there for me, and even though we don’t always see eye to eye, I know you understand me and love me, no matter what. I know my recent choices, decisions, and actions may have left you saddened and disappointed at times, and I hope you forgive me for my mistakes. I am so lucky to call you my mother, and you will always be a role model for me as I raise my children. I love you and I thank you for everything you have given me. Te quiero!”
….oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!