Because of Mom…

mom

Meet my Mom.

You’ve heard a bit about her — especially recently. Yup, this is the woman you’ve been sending good thoughts to. They seem to have worked, by the way, so thanks again for that.

Some of you have had the pleasure of meeting her. Others, I wish you could be so lucky.

In case you don’t get the chance to meet her, let me tell you a bit about her.

First, her name is Jackie. So, we always joke around and call her the “real Jackie O.” It may not sound funny, but it’s a family thing, and we like it.

Mom is one of two children, and she gave birth to four — one of whom she’s already buried. As a parent, I can’t even imagine the pain that must cause. I know it does/did, but she does a fairly good job of keeping things in. So I’m not sure we’ll ever quite know. But that’s OK. Because, you know what? It hurt me enough as it is, I don’t really need to know all the hurt it caused her.

Especially since she did that after burying her husband. Now, granted, that hurt like hell, too, but I still don’t think it even touches the other loss. No offense to my Dad, of course.

Mom was a teacher. Heck, she still is. She teaches us things all the time. A lifetime of lessons. Here are a few:

Because of Mom, you’re reading this blog. If you think I’m a good writer, then, well,  you’ve got the real Jackie O to thank for that. I drew all of my skill directly from her. And I can’t be more proud of that. So thanks, Mom.

Because of Mom, I tend to organize events I’m involved in. It’s not that I need to be in charge of something — it’s just that it runs a lot better when I am. That’s from my Mom.

Because of Mom, I’ve learned the value of hard work. Mom worked hard for anything she’s ever done. That lesson hasn’t been lost on me. I remember one day coming home with a not so fantastic progress report. Mom and Dad sat me down. It wasn’t about me getting a C, they said. It was that I was capable of more and I needed to work at it. If that’s what I was capable of, then they’d be excited. But they knew that it wasn’t, so they were disappointed. And there was no stronger lesson for me than not wanting to disappoint my parents again.

Because of Mom, I’m thrifty. Not cheap. Just thrifty. 

Because of Mom, I’m funny. It’s from her that I get my sense of humor. Dry and subtle. 

Because of Mom, I’m used to a family dinner every night (or as much as possible). She always had a dinner at the table for us. Something I’ll always remember.

Because of Mom, I never leave a wedding without thanking the parents of the bride and groom for having me as their guest.

Because of Mom I always wear clean underwear. “Never know when you’re going to be in an accident and need an ambulance, and you don’t want to go that route and have them discover you aren’t wearing clean underwear.” Yup, that’s Mom.

Because of Mom, I write thank you notes. And because of Mom Aidan and Erin write thank you notes. It goes back to the writing thing.

Because of Mom, I have high expectations — for pretty much anything.

Because of Mom, I don’t mind being introduced as “the baby” or “Precious” — even though I’m 39.

Because of Mom, there’s no other woman I admire more.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

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The Birthday Boy

An amazing thing happened five years ago.

Yup, the Red Sox finally won the World Series ending the suffering of generations of Sox fans.

Yet, early in that magical year, on a day when Curt Schilling led the Sox to a 9-1 win over the Kansas City Royals, a future Sox prospect made his first appearance in the big leagues after spending nine months in the minors.

This new member of the franchise was named Aidan Michael O’.

Every now and then a player comes along that changes everything — that’s what Aidan did (and, well, still does).

Like most young players, he doesn’t listen to all the instructions given to him. He also hasn’t figured out yet that it’s a long season — so losing one day doesn’t preclude the team from going on a five-gaming winning streak.

What he has figured out, I think, is his clubhouse influence. He might not always be the best player on the field, but often times it is the little things that make a player succeed. And he is a master of the little things. He’s not a flashy player — just fundamentally solid. The one you can count on to lay the bunt down. The one that will take extra batting practice. The one that might not be as skilled as the others, but will work as hard as he can to succeed.

And today, and every day, that player makes those around him better. It’s just what he does. He probably doesn’t even realize it.

So, I hope you’ll join me today in sending birthday wishes to this future Hall of Famer.

A future first ballot Hall of Famer.

A future first ballot Hall of Famer.

He's always reaching new heights.

He's always reaching new heights.