Mom and I have always had a lot in common. We share many of the same positive and negative attributes: The same sense of humor, the same hatred of bullying, the same terrible sense of direction, the same quick sympathy for people who are suffering, the same mind-numbing fear of parallel parking, the same feeling of embarrassment when we have to ask dad to fix whatever gizmo we broke or the the newest gadget we couldn't figure out how to put together in the first place. Those similarities have fostered a bond between us that I couldn't have with anyone else in the world. To quote the great Paul Simon, my mama loves me like a rock and the feeling is mutual.
Back when I played organized sports, mom never liked close games -- she found stress-free blowouts more to her liking. Her aversion to close games extended beyond my sports endeavors. Her behavior was the same when my older brother Erik and the Kansas State basketball and football team played. When the games were close, mom would seek refuge at the concession stand, or go for a walk in the park, or, in some cases, just change the channel or turn off the television. Yet, at some point, she would always return to her beloved teams to find out whether they had won or lost.
Earlier this week I received some good-natured ribbing about the fact that I usually got my mom a card -- a very thoughtful card I might add -- for Mother's Day. Meanwhile, Scott Jackson, the esteemed Senior sports writer for the Ottumwa Courier, informed me that the gift he purchased for his mom every year was shall we say a little more elegant than mine and he encouraged me to become a little more ambitious with my gift giving. After I thinking about it, I grudgingly conceded that Jackson had a point. After all, as Jackson reminded me, my mom did give birth to me.