Thank You, Mom!


Mehk Sethi, Contributing Writer

Figure skating fans watched in awe as Meryl Davis, 27, and Charlie White, 26, of the US won the gold medal for ice dancing on February 17, 2014. They told the story of a Persian king and the woman who enchants him in the most elegant manner with intricately choreographed steps and almost flawless movements. The skating duo’s first lift, the curb lift, was one that they had been planning for three years, and when they were finished with it, the audience’s cheers rung through the stadium in astonishment. Even during the last minutes of their performance, their movements were as delicate and graceful as when they started. As the music faded away, and their performance came to an end, I knew in my heart that I wanted them to win.

My initial thought when watching this breath-taking performance was about  how much hard work and effort Davis and White must have put into this, so I did some research. It turns out that these two amazing figure skaters have been training for 17 years since 1997. However, what surprised me even more was how much dedication was required from their families, specifically their mothers, Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White. These two women are known as “the moms” because they have been inseparable since their children started training together. These mothers are so invested in their children’s performances that they have their own superstitions too. Cheryl Davis has a ritual where she records the scores of the contestants on a pad, and Jacqui White has a pair of lucky Ugg’s. Their dedication does not stop here though. When the two figure skaters were younger, their moms were responsible for their transportation. Cheryl White says, “We were there every single day. We would drive them, pick them up from school, drive them to the rink, stay with them … rush over while they were on the ice and get them a bagel with cream cheese or chocolate milk or whatever they wanted.” Despite their willingness to support their children’s Olympic careers, they admit that it has been hard at times, especially when watching their children fall over and over again. White said, “I think you sit there and you wonder: how many times can you fall and get back up again? Your first instinct is to go out there and say ‘Stop hurting yourself; let me take you home to something fun,’ but you don’t, because the more loving thing is to let them go, let them pick themselves up sometimes and let them continue on and get stronger because of it.” However, neither has strayed from allowing their child to achieve their goal, and it has obviously paid off.

The Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” program acknowledges the inspiring contributions made by Olympic moms. This program sets up a family home in Sochi, where US athletes and their families  are provided with food and financial help for the cost of coming to Russia, and in return the program creates an ad to highlight Olympic moms’ devotion to their children. In the current ad, moms pick up their children when they fall down on the ice.

Because of the happiness that their children’s success brings them, Davis and White, both, refuse to admit that they sacrificed anything for their children’s Olympic careers. They enjoyed every minute of supporting their children, so according to them, they haven’t really given anything up.

Davis says, “I know that people want to call it a sacrifice, and it is in some ways, because you do put a lot of your time and a lot of your money into it. But on the other hand, a sacrifice almost means you are almost giving up a lot, I am not sure what we gave up.”

After reading about Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White, I came to realize that the relationship that parents have with their children is not only a labor of love, but a relationship that helps define what a child develops into. I recently read an article that says that parents will often have to make a young child try a food at least a dozen times before the child becomes comfortable with that food. We, as humans are a successful breed of animals, because we are socially developed and spend a lot of time grooming our offspring.   Most other animal species, especially the non-domesticated breeds,  are still spending their days and nights toiling the earth to fulfill their basic primal needs and have been doing so for thousands of years. We, as humans, have with great effort, developed ourselves and re-engineered ourselves generation after generation to become more efficient and have done so with the hope of making a brighter future for our offspring.

Getting back to the human experience, those parents who are successful in grooming their kids do so because to some extent the parents share the thrills and joys of their kids’ accomplishments. Just look around yourself and you will see that some of the most successful and happy children have loving parents who stand behind them without fail.  There is an African proverb that claims that “It takes a village to raise a child,” but I would add that “It really takes a loving, caring, and involved parent or set of parents to create a successful, happy child.” So in tribute to all the parents who have given much effort, support, and love to raising their children, please remember that you are perpetuating the success of the human race. Great job, and keep up the good work!