August Journaling Day 4: Mom

This could be the easiest entry I’ll do all month. I could sit here and write 30 minutes of praise for my mom any day and every day. She’s always been the most important person in my life and for 42 years has shown me nothing but caring, compassion, love, and every other good word there is. Eight years ago when I wrote my book, I dedicated it to my mom. I also wrote about her at the end of the acknowledgments.

Eight years later those words are all true, especially the last four.

As i said, I could go on and on and sing my moms praises. But I want to share a couple stories instead, both of phone calls. One good, one bad. The bad one was from Kentucky Derby Day of 2008. I was very depressed. Despondent might be a better word. I was laying on the floor between races at River Downs sobbing on top of an air mattress I’d bought because I didn’t have the energy to even sit up between races. I went to the hospital and called my mom. I told her I needed to come home. But I was terrified to go home. I was in a phase of panic disorder that I wasn’t really functioning and driving across country seemed impossible. Heck, leaving the hospital had me terrified. I was 27 and my mom left the business she ran that night to fly over to Cincinnati, help me pack, and drove me across America back home. It’s embarrassing typing that now. But I was completely powerless and incapable of doing it alone. She never hesitated or balked at helping me. Her selflessness for her children knows absolutely no bounds. And believe me, during the anxiety years, she got a lot of those “I can’t do it anymore” calls. I have to imagine at certain points she had to have had enough of my struggles. But she never showed that to me.

The good phone call was November 14, 2018. Now I’ve written about this before HERE, but I’ll tell the boiled down version now. I had just finished my first day announcing in over three and a half years. I had driven from Seattle to Miami to do it. I was beaming with pride when I went to call her after the races. She answered and when I went to tell her how great the day was, I started crying. I did manage early on to tell her “this is a good cry”, but after that, it was mostly just tears and wails. She just kept saying “get it all out. Get it all out.” And I did. Maybe the most cathartic emotional release of my life. And I really can trace alot of the good things that have happened in my life and rebuilding it back to that day. That was the first ‘win’ in a while. When I got the call that I’d been hired at Tampa, the first person I called was my mom. I figure I owe her first dibs on the good calls since she was always first for the bad ones.

I remember Howard Stern talking about setting up a camera at home and interviewing his parents. In part to have a document of their story for his kids, but also to really be able to ask them questions about their lives. That’s something I’d love to sit down with my mother and do. Similar to my Grandparents that I wrote about the other day, I’ve only known her as my mom. As we’ve both gotten older I do think I’ve learned more about her as a person as opposed to “mom”. I’d be very curious to really sit down and ask her about her childhood. About her friends. About her marriage to my dad. Their divorce. About me and my sister. About her proudest moments. About her darkest moments. Her successes and struggles. I’m looking forward to September to have some time at home and spend time with my mom. I haven’t seen here since last November which honestly might be the longest time I’ve ever not seen her. She’s the best. Just the best.