Raising an Olympian {a tribute to my mom}

Have you watched any of the P&G Olympic videos on YouTube?

Did you see the one called “Best Job?” About moms?

If not, go ahead and watch it now. It takes just two minutes.

I’ll wait….



So, when I saw that video a month or so ago, I was touched. I shed a few tears, of course. And not just because I’m a sap mom, but because it made me think about my mom.

I never gave it any thought before. And I didn’t even realize it until I watched that video.

My mom raised an Olympian.

I remember walking into the stadium, looking down onto the field, and spotting my brother for the first time, warming up, “USA” across his chest.

It was surreal.

I remember feeling so overwhelmed when the crowd would chant U-S-A, U-S-A, over and over again. Or when the voice of  Gloria Estefan would fill the stadium {singing that year’s theme song}.

I beamed as I was watched my big brother, knowing this was the product of hard work, a natural God-given talent, and perseverance when it seemed like no one believed in him.

He never gave up. I was witnessing the reality of a dream come true.

And today, this thought: if I felt that way and I was just his sister, I could not even have imagined what my parents must have been feeling.

What it was like for my mom?

How incredibly proud she must have been. Watching her son, her baby boy, representing our country in the biggest games in the world.

But how could I? I was just a teenager when my brother played in the 1996 Olympics.

Honestly, I just thought it was pretty cool to be there and see him be a part of it. {And was trying to deal with the heat and humidity of Atlanta…geesh!}

Now, having children of my own, I know without a doubt, her heart was full…bursting…with joy and pride and love for my brother, her son.

But here’s the thing about my mom…

Even though one of her kids was an Olympic athlete, she was the same loving and supporting mother to all of us.

You see, there were four of us kids. Each one in different sports and activities. But there was never a game or a meet or a match where my mom {or dad} was not present.

At my gymnastics meets hours away, she would sit on the bleachers the entire day waiting to catch the moment I competed for a whopping 5 minutes and 21 seconds (and that is all four events people!).

She was the in the stands at the JV football games watching my squad cheer to absolutely no one.

She drove thousands of miles and sat countless hours on hard metal benches.

I took her presence, her commitment to her children, for granted.

Olympic athlete or not. It didn’t matter to her.

So yeah, when I watched that video, I not only cried because it made me think of my mom…

…I cried because I realized that was my mom.


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13 Responses to Raising an Olympian {a tribute to my mom}

  1. Jennifer says:

    Mark and I were just talking about your brother in the Olympics last night:) And your mom was such a great mom to watch parent, I’ll bet you’re a lot like her. I love your blog!

    • Amber says:

      Thanks Jennifer. My mom set the bar pretty high. But she fills in where I fall short. And I am so thankful that my kids get such a fun and awesome grandma!

  2. Janelle says:

    How fun! My husband ran the 10k in the 1996 Olympics. I wonder if he ever met your brother. (and yes I was still a teenager too…since Brad is 10 years older than me). I know it was a proud moment for my in-laws and the rest of their family. The only bummer is I didn’t get to experience this with him. But we have lots of fun watching the Olympics now. :)

    • Amber says:

      That’s awesome Janelle! The other day when basketball was being shown, I said, “Hey! I got to go to a basketball game when I went to the Olympics.” My kids were shocked…apparently I never told them their uncle got to play in them :) Maybe one of your little ones will grow up to be an Olympian too :)

      • Janelle says:

        It would be so fun if one of them was an Olympian. So far I see so many more “athletic” kids than ours, but its a combination of a lot of things that makes an Olympian. Athletic, hard working attitude, a little luck, great support etc.

  3. Gina says:

    Oh good grief…I am crying like a baby. As mother’s we do everything for our children. I am so sure that your mother was beaming and still does when she remembers those days. I spent countless hours sitting at games and competitions and practices myself. I know that one day my daughter will realize and say wow. Maybe not today in her 20 year old self by one day.
    Thanks for sharing Amber, and to think our were in my town :-)

    • Amber says:

      I was thinking of you when I wrote that! We had a great time in your town… toured the capitol, the coke museum, and had my first chick-fil-a!

  4. Nancy says:

    I know the emotions you are feeling, Amber. It takes very wise parents to figure out how to navigate the Olympic journey (or any journey for that matter) for one child and translate it as an adventure for the entire family. Your words paint a wonderful picture of a family that saw the bigger picture and invested wisely in each child! Thanks for sharing. I think the same thoughts about my parents too. :)

    • Amber says:

      Thanks Nancy. And I’m sure you had a completely different experience as well, being on the other side of it :)

  5. Chrissie Baxter says:

    I also cried watching that movie. Thanks for sharing Amber! Like a lot of moms, I worry that my children may feel I loved one more than the other or that it is all somehow unfair. I am glad to hear you can see that your parents gave to you in their best possible ways too. I love you!!!

    • Amber says:

      I am right there with you! It makes me sad if one of my children ever say “you love so and so more than me.” OK, well, usually that’s just one of my kids that say that ;) We just have to keep trying our best and give ourselves plenty of grace. You are an awesome mom, Chrissie!

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