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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's day in Mesa, Arizona

I wasn't in that position, even after the Cardinals ripped up my rookie contract and rewarded me with a new multi-year deal that included a bigger signing bonus than the one I was given as a 10th-rounder. NFL contracts aren't guaranteed except for the signing bonuses, so I still had to play to earn the salaries in my contract.

We determined the most immediate relief we could offer my parents was to "retire" my mother from her seamstress job she had since I was a little boy.

Like many LDS women who shared our family predicament, my mother often felt guilty that she had to work to help my father make ends meet, when often her meager wages were not enough. As a family, we were familiar with the Bishop's Storehouse just north of Main Street in Mesa, where we routinely worked every Saturday in exchange for the assistance we received. Once, I remember going on a Scout campout and having my peers laugh and make fun of me when I unwittingly opened a can of peaches that had the "Deseret" label.

As my NFL career was winding down, Keala was confident I could transition into TV and encouraged me to do so without looking back. She stayed after me to complete my course work for my college degree, which I eventually did in 2002 from BYU.

This weekend, I salute and pay homage to my mother, my wife and my mother-in-law, whom I've never met but nonetheless, love, honor and respect for the way she courageously raised Keala despite a failing, cancer-ridden body.

I love you Mom, Keala and Dorothy. Your happiness and comfort is the object of my existence.

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