INDIANAPOLIS – Mother’s Day is a very special day, an occasion to thank, celebrate or remember someone who provided a loving hand.
The Houston native joined Indianapolis in March of 2012 after playing with Baltimore but no matter where his career has taken him, Redding is reminded deeply about the special significance of Mother’s Day.
“It is a special day for many reasons,” said Redding. “I was a surprise baby. She already had three children and life was great. She became pregnant, but she hadn’t planned on it. The doctor sort of presented to her like, ‘Do you want to keep him?’ She said, ‘I’m going to keep him.’
“That fact that she went through it and had four (children) and my dad left at my age of two, she raised four kids by herself being a mom and a dad.”
Mary Redding worked multiple jobs in the Houston area. One job was with a computer company in a time when the telecommunications era started bustling. A second job was in a bank, where she worked for years. She did both to help her children, Lisa, Eryka, Chris and Cory.
“It was a big deal, working two jobs and trying to make ends meet and giving us the best she could give,” said Redding. “It was a sacrifice for life. Knowing all those things now makes it that much more special now to help my mom and love her more for all the things she did for my brothers and sisters.”
Working professionally was a necessity to make home life as comfortable as Mary could make it. While the family subsisted on love and helping each other, sometimes it was not an easy process.
“She did everything she could to make ends meet, cooking food and making it stretch for two or three days,” said Redding. “She put clothes on our backs. I remember going to thrift stores, Goodwill and putting clothes on layaway. She did everything she could to make sure we had the things we needed to go to school and not lack for anything.
“I thought we were okay. I felt like we were a decent family. Sometimes, we were poor and could afford only the bare minimum things. That was a way of life.”
As athletics started becoming a way of life for Chris and Cory, support was part of the equation when they played on the same team at North Shore High School.
“Whenever she was working, she made sure someone was in the stands,” said Redding. “My brother and I played on the same high school team, so my sister would be in the stands, or a neighbor.
“For the most part, mom would be there. She’d show up in the second or third quarter because she worked. She would get off work and drive straight to the game.”
As Redding continued maturing, particularly when his career took him from Houston to Austin and the University of Texas, he started noting all that his mother had done.
“When I went to college,” said Redding was when he started seeing what Mary had done. “College opened my eyes to the world and I started looking back on how I got there and things we had done and the places we had lived.
“I just thought of the things she went through to make things happen for us (her kids). It put things in perspective for me.”
Redding’s NFL career started in 2003, and it flourished to the point he could give back to Mary, who had sacrificed so much. In essence, Cory “retired” Mary.
“When I made it to the league, I sat my mom down and said, ‘You’ve worked hard your whole life. Here is a budget. You can live comfortably. Just know that whatever you need, I’ve got it.’ That made me feel good to do that for my mother,” said Redding. “She’ll never have to work another day in her life.
“Her house is paid for. Her car is paid for. She is enjoying things with her eight grandkids, doing things with her church and all kinds of things.
“My mom sacrificed, and my way to repay her was to take the stress away of working every day. Her health was getting bad from all the years of working hard and putting herself through things. I told her to chill out and live within these means and I would be able to do things for her for a long time. It gives you a warm feeling inside. She’s my mom. I can never get another one. Mom is mom.”