Each and everyday you more than likely make sacrifices that you probably are so natural to making that you do not even notice. Whether it be going to bed at a reasonable time and missing your favorite show so you can get up early and go to the gym or skipping out on those chocolate candies and picking up the fruit instead, our days are filled with sacrifices or choices as some individuals call it. Although I would love to elaborate on fitness and how great it is to make sacrifices so we can go to the gym and live a healthy lifestyle, today I want to get a little deeper than that.
Growing up, I had a mom, dad & twin sisters who were five years younger than me. Unfortunately, around the age of five my parents got divorced, like many people seem to be doing now a days. At the time, my mother was a “stay at home mom” as some would like to call it, raising us three girls. My father owned a couple of health clubs that she helped at more than she was given credit for, so on top of raising three girls, all five and under, she also worked there helping my dad organize his life and business. When my parents got divorced it left my mom without a lot…Without a house, a car, and a job. Luckily, she did have us three girls (but she probably was not feeling so lucky at the time). Not only did she provide an AMAZING life for my sisters and I, but she also taught me one of the biggest life lessons that anyone has ever taught me…and that was sacrifice.
When my parents divorced, my mom decided that she was going to provide for us girls, no matter how difficult it was going to be, and no matter what anyone had to say! Not only did she have all of us girls up, fed, and ready for school sometimes as early at 5:00AM, but she also put herself through college, graduating near the top of her class. I will never forget the days that my mom would get to our school at 5:55AM and our daycare teacher was not there yet. She would be freaking out somedays as the clock approached after 6:00AM knowing that she HAD to get to her clinicals… Bruce, our janitor and milk man at our school (when we were little he would deliver milk to our classroom sometimes when Mr.White did not) was always there bright and early to open the door for us and always reassured my mom that he would stay with us until our daycare teacher got to the school so that she could get to work. Little did I know then, but she was making sacrifices for us, that would help us down the road.
For years, I never saw my mom in new clothes, rarely did I see her get her hair done, and still to this day I do not know if I have ever seen my mom get her nails done professionally other than on her wedding day… Whatever income she brought in, she put back into us girls. You would have never guessed by knowing me growing up that my mom was a single mom, struggling every single day. Mom always made sure we were wearing the newest trends, had the new Northface that came out for Christmas, or the newest ipod. She made sacrifices so that us girls could have the best life possible. Not once did she take a vacation (unless it was one she was taking us on), not once did she buy that designer bag, and not once did she buy the fanciest car that she could afford. She bought a cute home in my hometown, a new Santa Fe to haul us all around, and the rest, she gave to us girls. She was one of the most unselfish individuals I have ever met. She always made sure she had lunches made for each one of us individually, that she tucked us all in every night, and even read us bedtime stories.
I look back at it now, and believe me, I always knew that my mom made sacrifices for us girls, but the older I get, the more I realize that she did for us. When it came to her relationships, she always put her kids first. Whether it was her friends, family, or a man, we came first. She would pick nights in, hanging out with us over just about anything it seemed. I remember countless nights hanging out watching movies and eating popcorn, just us four girls. I remember mom treating us out to Ruby Tuesday’s and even letting us order a desert. She did whatever she could, to give us girls the world, and if it was not for her, I do not think I would understand this whole sacrificing things so well.
For many of you, from the outside or third party view, you look at professional athletes, or anyone famous by that means, a little differently. You think life is so easy because we (our spouses, significant others, boyfriends, etc.) make millions of dollars, so everything must be easy, right? No, wrong! “Mo’ money Mo’ problems” is the name of the game… One of my biggest pet peeves is when people ask me, “why do you work, Len just got a huge contract?” Although this is a topic I don’t like to go into too much detail about, I just always smile and laugh… Why wouldn’t I work? I am perfectly healthy, I have no children, and he is gone half the day anyways… There is no reason for me not to work… That does not mean I have not made sacrifices though to live in this life. I remember a girl once telling me that there would be no way I could maintain a job dating or marrying a professional athlete. She told me they move too much and if I really wanted to be supportive that I would not be able to be there for him if I was at work…I am here to tell you, it is possible!
Last season, I left my full-time job working in the corporate world and I began working back at my local Starbucks that I had worked at part-time since I was in college. I soon became a supervisor, and each month I would list off the days I needed off and hand them into my boss. She knew I preferred short days on Tuesdays (the boys off day), that I HAD to have Sundays off, away game Saturdays I only could open as I had flights to catch and that on Mondays I liked to start late… Guess what?! I managed to work full-time and attend every single game this past year, home and away, even if that meant waking up at 3:30AM to go to work. Although I missed working in the sporting industry at times, nothing could replace the fact that I was able to support Len, in person, every single game this year. We built a routine, whether being at a home game or an away game, and stuck to it, and for us, it worked.
Going to every game this past year was not cheap, to say the least. I had to pay for Ubers to the airport, flights, Ubers to the hotel, hotel rooms, food, game tickets, and Ubers back to the airport…plus paying to board the dog at home. Len and I worked out a deal and I decided that my Ubers, booking my flights and a couple meals were what I was going to pay for and he would get my hotel and ticket to the game and a meal or two. I am SO cheap sometimes, and at the time I was barely making $12/hour at Starbucks before taxes… I paid our water bill and electric bill in the house plus a car payment, insurance, and bought groceries. I knew that my number one priority after getting the bills paid of course was my flights. I used all my tricks in the book to find the cheapest flights… I literally made a spreadsheet the day the schedule came out last season. It had so many different columns; flights from O’Hare, Midway, Milwaukee…train prices, Uber prices, friends who could drive me to the airport, and Len, if he could pick me up. I was determined to make it to every game and I was not going to let the fact that I was making $12 an hour stop me… I went months with no gifts for myself, no nails done, no hair appointments, no tanning, had to skip out on going to dinner with my friends… My extra money would go towards Bears clothes for the games half the time…I made that sacrifice though, I knew that to Len, me being at the games meant the world to him, so I was going to do everything in my power to attend those games…I have to admit, I am so happy I have a new job this season and will be able to afford the games A LOT easier than last season although. When I tell people this, they always look at me confused…Like why are you paying to go to HIS games? Well, in this relationship, we look at it as more of a partnership…I am perfectly able to pay for my own things, so I am going to. I would rather work now, save Len the extra money, so one day when we do decide to have children I am not stressed over working while raising a child. Sacrifice now, for later.
When I take a step back and walk into Len’s shoes, I see all the sacrifices he makes as well. Whether it is the choices he takes to better himself on the field like his hours of training, never missing a practice, or a voluntary workout; the treatment that he partakes in outside of work, even if this means getting home close to 8PM; his financial choices like only having one place right now and living in Chicago, instead of paying for multiple; not having to be decked out in designer from head to toe everyday, or even mental decisions he makes daily during meditation or writing in his planner; he is ALWAYS making sacrifices today, to better himself for tomorrow. Each day when he steps on the field, he is making a sacrifice to his own health. But, it is a sacrifice that he is willing to take to accomplish his goals in doing what he loves.
When it comes to making sacrifices, it is one of the most selfish and unselfish things that you can possibly do, and I am here to tell you that it is OK! If you really want that $1,500 purse or pair of shoes then make some sacrifices! Don’t get your nails done, layoff of the shopping sprees, and skip out on a few nights on the town. If you have a child, give them a life that they are going to look back on and be like, “WOW, my mom and/or dad did everything they possibly could and sacrificed so much to give me the life that I have.” At the end of the day, once you have a child, everything you do, should be for them, in my opinion. When it comes to your friends, sacrifice those 10 minutes you were going to spend on editing your Instagram picture, to get likes from people that you probably do not even care that much about, and call them! Pick up the phone and call them, it is easy! Today, we all tend to complain too much as it is. Often times were caught in the, “I don’t have enough money”, “I don’t have enough time”, or just the common “I can’t because…” rant… Make the sacrifices and get that shit done instead of making the excuse that there is no way possible to make it happen. We are all adults here. If a mother of three could raise three girls on her own, giving them an unbelievable life, you can do what you set your mind to as well, as long as you are willing to make the sacrifice.
Thanks to my mom for sacrificing everything for my sisters and I. You are an amazing woman and I appreciate you. & also, thanks to Len. You sacrifice so much to give Kobe and I a great life and we appreciate all the hard work you do.