My Ma Taught me How to Throw a Spiral

photoI will be the first to admit, I wasn’t the easiest kid in the world to raise. I was one of those kids that made my Ma earn her motherhood stripes. I didn’t do it on purpose or to be mean. Growing up I just knew there was a big world out there and it was my job to experience it all. I think my Ma spent more time protecting me from myself than she spent protecting me from the world. Part of the reason I give Ma so much credit is two-fold… A) I turned out pretty fantastic and B) She raised 3 kids, for all intents and purposes, on her own, as a single Mom.

When I was 6, I fell off my bike and skinned my knee. Up until this point in my life (besides a broken arm) this was the worst I had ever hurt myself. I still consider this worse than my broken arm because there was blood. A lot. Admidst my wailing as though someone had cut off my leg, I still remember Ma calmly picking me up, sitting me on the kitchen counter and tending to my gashing wound. She made it better… That’s what Ma does… She fixes us when we break ourselves.

Growing up “no” never really meant “no.” To me it meant I hadn’t stated my case well enough to get the yes. For as much as I wanted to believe after the final “no” there is a “yes,” more often than not, after the final “no” there was a “you’re grounded!” Thanks Ma for teaching me perseverance and limits… But mostly perseverance.

We grew up on sports, for this I can thank my Ma. Ever since I can remember I played a sport. Basketball, volleyball, softball, golf. She wanted us to be well rounded individuals and she knew that sports were the best outlet to learn integrity, good attitudes, respect and self-esteem. Ma was always my loudest cheerleader. I can still hear her from the stands “Be tough, Dez!” Ma taught and instilled in me mental and physical toughness. The ability to withstand and not crack under pressure. The ability to dig deep and succeed.

Ma taught me about the sport I love more than anything on the face of the planet. Football. I never really realized until a few years ago that it was Ma who instilled this in me. I was sitting with her watching a Michigan football game (she grew up and still is a bleed maize & blue Wolverine) and she started debating a play with me. I was shocked, totally irritated and kind of dumbfounded at first… And then I was wildly impressed. Ma could hang! I dug it! Besides her knowledge of the game she taught me how to throw a perfect spiral. Yes, she may have given me life, but she also taught me how to launch a pigskin. For this reason alone, I am forever indebted to this Woman.

My Ma never compared my brother, sister or myself to each other. She always told us we were each special and wonderful each in our own way. Growing up I took this as my cue to let her know how nice that was but we both knew the truth… I was the favorite. I shouldn’t need to state the obvious but I will… She stopped at perfection. (#TrueStory)

My Ma is amazing. I’m not saying that just because it’s Mother’s Day either. It’s something I tell her on a regular basis. I know all too well the berevity of life. I know how fast it can be taken. I know how soon it can be over. If Ma has taught me one thing it’s that we need to tell the people in our lives what they mean to us and who they are for us in this world. We need to let them know, not just on holidays but everyday. We never know when it will be the last hug, the last conversation, the last goodbye or see you later.

Ma, you’re hands down the best Mom ever. No one in the world will ever measure up to you. I hope one day I can be a quarter of the woman you are.

Cheers to Mom’s, Dez

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