By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News & Eagle
Kevin Durant has ruined Mother’s Day for all other sons and daughters in the world.
How can anyone else hope to compete with the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star’s tearful, heartfelt tribute to his mom this week when he was accepting the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award?
KD spoke of his mother’s sacrifice for her two sons, her struggles as a single mother doing what she could to keep them fed, warm, dry and off the streets. Wanda Pratt often went to bed hungry so her boys would have something to eat.
She kept Kevin from quitting basketball and falling victim to life on the streets of their suburban Washington, D.C., home. She pushed him to reach his full potential.
“You’re the real MVP,” Kevin told Wanda with the whole world looking on, wiping away tears.
Way to go, Kevin, you just made things tougher for everybody else this Mother’s Day.
Just kidding, of course. Durant’s emotional acceptance speech in which he highlighted everybody but himself showed just what kind of humble person his mother raised. The entire state is lucky to have him in our midst.
KD’s words could be applied to most mothers. Who doesn’t think their mom is the MVP of their lives?
All moms make sacrifices for their children, whether or not their economic situation requires them to forego food to feed their family.
From the get-go, moms sacrifice their figures for their kids. Pregnancy does many things to a woman’s body, many of them not pretty. And regaining a pre-baby bod takes a lot of hard work.
Moms sacrifice sleep for the first several months, dealing with middle-of-the-night feedings and spending hours walking the floor trying to get their crying offspring back to dreamland.
They sacrifice sleep for their children’s teen years, also, lying awake staring at the ceiling waiting for their son or daughter to come home from a date, jumping at every little sound, praying the phone stays silent.
Many moms sacrifice their careers for their children, giving up the corporate fast track to stay home and try to keep their kids on the right track. Other moms work, sacrificing a sense of calm as they fray their nerves trying to earn a living and keep up with the kids at the same time.
Mothers sacrifice a sense of dignity, whether they wind up wearing the strained prunes their beloved child spits up, or they receive an impromptu shower while in the midst of diapering their baby boy.
When their children are young, mothers sacrifice more than a bit of their sanity. You try watching “The Backyardigans,” “Bubble Guppies” or “Yo Gabba Gabba” for hours on end without going at least slightly bonkers.
Then, when the kids become teenagers, mom sacrifices a bit more of her sanity because, after all, she is now dealing with teenagers, which is enough to strain anyone’s sense of reality and try their patience.
Mothers sacrifice their own dreams, hopes and desires to allow their children to pursue theirs. Sometimes mothers sacrifice their own happiness to ensure their children are happy.
They sacrifice a romantic evening of dinner, drinks and dancing with their husband for a burger, fries and a toy at a local fast food establishment.
Moms sacrifice their personal identity. She is no longer Carol, or Sharon, or Cathy, but Billy’s mom, Becky’s mom or Bonnie’s mom.
They sacrifice a piece of their heart, because from the moment you are born, you tear it off and hold it in your tiny hand, and there it stays for the rest of your life. And there will be many times you will break her heart, and she will shed tears, but likely only behind closed doors where you can’t see.
But, more often, those tears will be happy ones, and they will be proudly shed in public, when she watches you graduate, marry and when she adds the title “grandma” to her resume, a job generally much easier and more fun than being mom ever was.
If you are lucky, you will have your mom around most of your life. If you still have your mom, you are lucky. Go and see her today, tell her you love her, thank her for what she has done for you.
That was, after all, Ann Reeves Jarvis’ intention when she first organized Mother’s Day observances in 1908. All the cards, gifts, candy and flowers came later, much to Jarvis’ chagrin.
Many of us are not so lucky. Our mothers live on only in our hearts and in that small but insistent voice we hear when we contemplate doing something we know we shouldn’t do.
My mom’s been gone for nearly a quarter century. I wish I could tell her how much she meant to me, despite our often prickly relationship, particularly in my teen years. I loved her dearly through it all. I still do.
I broke her heart more times than I care to remember. I wish I could tell her I’m sorry.
Go see your mom today, or give her a call. Tell her you love her. Tell her she is your MVP. She knows it, deep in her heart of hearts, but she loves to hear it anyway.
Take every chance you get to tell her. When she’s gone, all you can do is wish you had told her more often.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.