In 1996, I was a 28-year-old intern at WKRN in the sports department. Yes, not your typical intern.

I was finishing up college at MTSU after an interesting experience years earlier at Samford University. (That is a story for another time and day.) They had just hired a new sports director, John Dwyer, who went way out of his way to be helpful to an intern when he did not have to be.

That year, Vanderbilt was playing University of Alabama-Birmingham in football and it marked the return of Watson Brown to West End after he had been fired six years earlier. It was a semi-big deal.

Also, that weekend Tennessee was playing in Knoxville so John and a cameraman went to that game and I offered to shoot the Vandy game and get all the interviews afterward. I would bring them back and edit for whoever was going to anchor sports on the weekend.

So here I am, just an intern. I had just gotten a camera from MTSU and that Saturday morning I was off on my first big assignment. The game was early afternoon but I was going to get there hours early to get set up and make sure everything was good to go. I loaded all the camera gear, got in the car and felt good. Then I turned the key in the ignition and…nothing.

OK, I thought, this is all a bad dream. Let me try starting again.

Nothing.

One more time.

Nothing.

OK, let’s pop the hood and see if maybe there is a wire loose because I knew nothing about cars.

Nothing.

What am I going to do? My wife at the time was in nursing school. I had practically begged for this assignment and things were crashing quickly.

Mom. What is mom doing? Maybe she can drop me off and come back and pick me up?

Yes, here was this sad, 28-year-old man calling his mom to save his tail. I called and she said she would be there in 15 minutes.

Outstanding.

This is where my mom was a rock star. She drops me off right in front of the stadium and says, “I will wait right here.”

“Mom, I will be gone for about 6 hours, I will call you when I am wrapping up and you can meet me at the Wendy’s on the corner.”

“Nah, I will be right here. I have a book, don’t worry about me. Go have fun. This is what moms do.”

I was sure security would come move her at some point and I would meet her at that Wendy’s.

Fast forward about six hours. Vandy wins, I get all the interviews and head out from the stadium to the Wendy’s on that corner. No mom. I told her when I called at halftime what time I would be there and she was nowhere to be found. Instead of calling, I had this voice telling me to walk back to where she dropped me off hours earlier.

There she was. Same spot and reading her book.

“Wait, mom, have you been here the whole time?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“In case you needed anything, I wanted to be close by.”

Hours and hours and hours she waited for me. On a Saturday. When there were probably 588 other things she needed to be doing. Instead, she was there for me. As she was my whole life. I never really understood it until I had my kids. They come first.

My mom. And I don’t think I ever stopped to say, “Thank you.” I hope she knew in her heart I appreciated every single moment.

Call your mom and say thanks. If she asks “for what?” You say, “For everything.”

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