Mother’s Day Done Right

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and instead of my writing about my mom (who I adoringly admire), I’m here to write about another special mother. One who will be featured in Sunday’s “Extreme Home Makeover.”

This mother is named Carrie Prewitt, and she lives in my hometown of Middleburg, Fla. If you tune in on Sunday night, you’ll understand why Carrie Prewitt – or Coach Prewitt as I know her – deserves this extreme home makeover. And, if you know anything about the small town of Middleburg, you’ll know home makeovers are a long time coming. Middleburg’s a unique country town. When describing my hometown to some friends in college, I was able to count the number of street lights in Middleburg on one hand, something my friends from Tampa found hilarious.

Coach Prewitt is a good friend of my parents. Before they retired, my parents both worked at Middleburg High School, the same school where Coach Prewitt still coaches the championship-level girls volleyball team. She’s a legend in Middleburg and in North Florida. She lives, breathes and is Bronco volleyball. She gives up her weekends and personal money to devote to her players and team. When I would accompany my dad to work on Saturdays, we’d always see her jeep right outside the gym and her directing a Saturday practice. We would later be told it was been there for hours, since early that morning.

She lived less than two miles from my parents’ home and would periodically come over for dinner to enjoy a traditional Vietnamese meal. She lived in a trailer, something not at all unusual for the folks of Middleburg. It may have been a double-wide trailer, an “upgrade” in the eyes of many Middleburg-lites.

I went to high school in Jacksonville, but Coach Prewitt let me play on her travel volleyball team based in Middleburg and go to volleyball camps for free, where I learned to how do a 1-ft.-plus vertical jump (which has now decreased to a 1-inch hop). She was the best coach I ever had – and she was only my coach for about three days.

I remember one dinner we had. I was probably 16 at the time. The conversation turned heavy, and we somehow got on the topic of relationships. I had never even had this heavy of a talk with my own parents. I remember telling her that my future husband’s religious background didn’t matter to me, that I would marry him for who he was, regardless of who he worshipped. But then she told me something that would forever change my life. She told me, gently, that she used to feel the same way, that she too wanted to marry a man no matter his religious affiliations. But something changed, she said, when she got older. She started realizing that a person’s religious values are one thing, but how to raise a child is another time. She got me to slowly realize that life isn’t just about me, that it was also about any offspring I brought into the picture, and how my husband and I wanted to raise our child.

I totally don’t mean to get religious – and I’m definitely not arguing for or against anything – but I still hold Coach Prewitt’s words close to me. Even off the volleyball court, she was still coaching me.

So I can’t wait to check out her segment this Sunday night. In reading the local paper online, I’ve learned Coach Prewitt has become a mom herself. She adopted two teen girls recently. What a woman.

Happy Mother’s Day to Coach Prewitt. I am so, so happy for you and the great new home that you’ve always deserved.

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