I’ve been pushing off this week’s blog topics for a little while now because I wanted them to be so perfect. In doing so, I realized what I realize every time I write a card for any holiday. No words will ever do justice the gratitude I have for the two people that have given me more than I could ever repay. Mom and Dad, I’m going to give it my best shot to look back at all of our great memories and gather the lessons you have instilled in me.

Ladies first…

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My mom and I have spent a lot of quality time together over the years. It dates back to playing hooky in elementary school so we could eat the most delicious homemade turkey sandwiches while watching Oprah (I guess she became a bit of a pushover by the fourth kid😂). During my last two years in high school, I was fortunate enough to leave school by lunch to practice longer. So, we picked up where we left off, and the lunches got a little more elaborate as Martha (her latest name because of her exquisite cooking skills) started cooking up cedar plank salmon, and the finest risotto one would have thought it came from Italy.

Once all of my older siblings had fled the nest, it was my mom, my dad, and me. As a stay at home mom, she had the flexibility to travel with me to all of my tournaments. Bless her heart for the many holes she’s walked without having a clue of what is going on. Just like my sisters, there is not a whole lot about golf that my mom knows. Although I must admit, once I went to college, she became my dad’s new golfing partner. She’s very humble 😉 but I have to mention she has won two long drive competitions and finished runner up in multiple member guests. However, it’s essential to understand that leading up to the last few years, my mom knew little to none about golf, nor did she play the game. That is the reason she has been such an important part of my success, but more importantly, my overall happiness.

We’ve taken many road trips together, and man have we had a good time. Every time we got back in the car to head to another tournament, she’d start singing “on the road again.” For each tournament, we had a theme song that we would listen to going to the course every day. It was usually the single of the week on the country charts, but we thought it was so ironic that the radio kept playing it for us.

My mom is all about having fun. I’m literally smiling writing this thinking back to the craziest things she has done just to make me smile. The memories are too long to list, so I’m just going to mention a few and the lessons I’ve learned through them.

My mom and I “on the road again.”

DOUBLE BUMPERS

There is one thing my mom always knew in golf. Birdies meant -1 and eagles meant -2, and both were very good. Despite her desires, when it was just her and me at a tournament, she always walked 18 holes.

LESSON #1- mom’s always do things they don’t want for the love of their kids.

Eighteen holes watching a game you know nothing about got boring for her, I would get bored too. She decided to make it interactive by promising to give me one bump on my hip for a birdie and two bumps for an eagle. Going into my senior year of high school, I promised the owner, Marty, of our favorite local breakfast shop, Joes, that I wouldn’t return until I made an eagle. I was on the last hole of the final round of my summer tournaments and still had not made an eagle. The last hole was a par five, and my mom said, “you’re going to get this double-bumper.” I did, and she was hooting and holler and gave me the biggest double bump of my life.

LESSON #2- celebrate your successes and don’t take life or golf too seriously.

DO YOUR THANG
Moms have this special extra sense. You know how they know something is wrong before you even talk to them. They know you often better than you know yourself. Well, before I realized this myself, my mom noticed my tendency to overthink golf, become too serious and over-analytical.

LESSON #3- mom’s often know us better than we know ourselves.

When she noticed this happening, she would be her goofy self and say, “Go have fun, be you, do your thang, and don’t think too much.” She’d go as far as to advise me to practice less and that I needed to loosen up. Her beliefs were all confirmed when she watched an interview of Daniel Kang after she broke through winning her first LPGA tournament at KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, crediting it to Butch Harmon clearing her mind and letting her just play the game. I think my mom refers back to this interview every time she gives me any golf advice. These beliefs are reaffirmed now that she believes she is the next Anika Sorenstam. Having only picked up the game a few years ago, my mom has not had much time to develop her game. However, she is quite good. So, when my family goes out to play, and she hits more fairways than all of us, I know the famous line that is coming, “I don’t know what all this practice is for. You guys think too much. I just do my thang!” She’s not all that wrong.

LESSON #4- trust in your natural ability, love for the game, and ALWAYS have fun.

After I got the final double bumper and finished T2 with my mom caddying.

MAKE THE BEST WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
During my last three years of high school, my mom’s cooking duties were reduced from serving six people to just three. She took it upon herself as an opportunity to develop her skills, and man did she ever! So much so that we gave her the nickname, Martha.

After a day of working out and practice, I looked forward to nothing more than one of Martha’s specialty dishes to finish off the day. So, when I knew I had about 20 minutes left in practice, I’d text my mom hoping she’d be cheffing something special up, and it would be ready when I got home. Sometimes I’d walk in the door, and it would smell so good that I could already taste the food through my lungs. More often than not, “hangry” Brynn was disappointed to see she was just starting. Instead of sitting around watching, I took it upon myself to start cooking with my mom. I now am skeptical that she would wait for me to start cooking so we could share this special time together.

Among many things, there is one thing I learned most from my time in the kitchen with my mom— make do with what you got. Being a little forgetful, my mom would sometimes forget an ingredient, but it didn’t matter. She was a master of using whatever we had to make a world-class dinner. As long as you have the most important ingredient, love, then you have all that you need.

LESSON #5– make do with what you got. You have love if you have enough.

THE GIFT OF FAMILY
My mom comes from a large family of six. That family grew larger when all six kids married, doubling the number, and then having more kids blessing me with 20 cousins on just one side. The family continues to grow now as the cousins are getting engaged and married. Despite the large size of the family, my mom’s side has always made it a president to get the whole family together at least once a year. Having lost both of their parents, I find it remarkable that they are able to do this. It is always heartwarming to see the joy in their eyes when they all get the chance to be together.

This past January, my mom turned 60. Sorry mom, if you wouldn’t want me to share your age, but I think it is a remarkable achievement to have made it this far without one of your kids sending you into cardiac arrest. To celebrate, we returned to the location of one of our favorite family vacations, Woodstock, VT. We participated in some of our favorite winter activities such as skiing, fat tire biking, cross country skiing, working out, and a fantastic day trip to the spa. But, I think we all agree that our favorite part was the night we celebrated my mom’s birthday. It was a cold wintery Vermont night, and we made the drive to our favorite restaurant, the Barnard Inn. It’s hidden in the back roads of this small town and sits on top of a steep driveway that you hope is cleared of snow. Lost in the woods, we immediately lose cell reception.

For her 60th birthday, instead of spending time searching for a gift, she would more likely than not return, my dad, siblings, and I spent time reflecting on my mom’s life and putting into words the impact it has had on our lives. That night, we sat at the round table at the Barnard Inn. As the snow fell in the bitter cold outside, we were warm inside not by the fire that crackled next to us, but by the words we wrote to my mom. We all read our letters filled with gratitude, lessons and life long memories we’d compiled. I’ll never forget the laughter, smiles, and tears I saw on the face of my mom, my dad, my siblings, and the way I felt inside. It was then I was reminded there is no gift like the love of family, and it is a gift from a mom to hold that bond together.

LESSON #6– nothing can replace the gift of family. A mother’s love can hold the bond.

Mom with all four kids in her happy place in Vermont.