Wednesday, May 7, 2014
A Mother of a Story
Think of the first time you felt comforted. The feeling you had when you were warm and loved and safe. Now think of the person who made you feel that way. Most likely it involved a woman. A woman who was either mother, grandmother, aunt, or great grandmother. She was the first person there to hold you, comfort you, and pick you up when you fell. She made sure you ate, drove safely and washed behind your ears. A mom is everything and anything we need her to be. For some of us it's not a mom but like me, a grandma, who was always there to encourage and love. Sunday will be an important day for these women and some will protest and say it's just another day but to those of us who know the importance of these women in our lives, this day means a lot more. It's a day to give back to someone who has given their everything to us, to tirelessly sacrifice, and still finds ways to give more. I see, in a sport mostly dominated by men, the incredible backbone that most of them have comes actually from a woman.
The men and women and girls and boys of racing seem to be so hard at work on their cars and setups that no one really pays attention to that woman in the corner who's slightly teary over being scared to let their child out on the track. Knowing anything could happen to this person they don't see as a grown person, but as that sweet baby that they've had to kiss boo boos for and rock to sleep on long nights. They are letting a person they love more than life itself out into chaos and tempers and potential danger. It takes all she has to let them go but she knows as a mom or wife or grandmother it's her job to be the support they need and to let them do what it is that they love. It is the woman you hear screaming above all the others, with the white knuckles, the rolling stomachs, and frayed nerves that is the real true hero of our sport.
It doesn't have to be mothers or any relation. For some male drivers it's a wife and mother of their children. These women give up and sacrifice each and every race day for these drivers to do what they love without any expectation of thanks. Many are helping with cars, taking care of kids, and taking care of the driver all at the same time. Much wouldn't get done without these women and most drivers would be completely lost without them. One of my very dearest friends is one of these women. She is married to a race car driver and they have a beautiful family together. I have never seen her miss a race, driving hours if need be, alone, just to be there for him so that she can be his encouragement, his personal timing system, and biggest fan. I really don't know how he would do it without her but then again I don't think he does either.
The wives and mothers of the sport of racing are some of the strongest I've ever known besides my dear grandma. Just think about it, could you let your husband or son or daughter go out into one of the most dangerous sports there are, knowing in the back of your mind the realities of something going horribly wrong on the track but still keeping a smile on your face and an encouraging word on your lips? Can you love someone that much to let them go and pray they come back without a bruise or scratch? The women of racing give so much and ask for so little that they are the real heroes of this sport. These women seem to sacrifice everything for these racers and all because of one thing, love. It's the greatest of all treasures, and the thing that keeps us going. In a sport that can be so harsh and unforgiving it's the love these women bring to the track that puts everything else in balance and makes the sport have a kinder, gentler side.
When you go to a race this weekend do like I always do and just people watch. It's my absolute favorite thing to do. If you pay close enough attention to what's going on you'll see the drivers doing what needs to be done but somewhere in there you'll see a woman who is making sure that driver has what he needs, whether it's tear-offs, food, or a word of inspiration. She is that backbone they need. Most drivers know you can't do it without mom there for support. They realize to give without any expectation other than seeing you do good is more valuable than money for most. As a mother, I know there may come a day I have to let my son into the world of racing as a driver if he so chooses. I will have to let him go but be there for his support. The thought alone scares me to death but I can always look to these women I see now as my guidance and as my heroes. They have taught me far more than they know about loving and letting go. Just look for these women Saturday at whichever track you may go to and remember to note that what you are looking at is the greatest of all miracles and the deepest of all truths, its pure and simply love. Remember that this sport and these drivers all depend on this. These women are what keep it going. These women deserve a big thank you and on Sunday I hope you remember this and I hope you give back to her the love and support she gave you Saturday night. To all my racing moms, wives and grandmothers, Happy Mother's Day, and thank you for driving us all to do what we do. We couldn't do it without you.