Thank You, Smucker’s

When I dropped Gemelia off at the Smucker's Child Development Center the first time last year after a two-year break, I'll be honest, I didn't know what to expect. All I kept thinking about was how the first time went.

G was only a 1-year-old at the time. She'd never stayed with somebody she didn't know. Of course, when I dropped her off, she wasn't old enough to know that we were coming back. In her mind, she probably thought we were leaving forever. So, it was a bit of a rough experience for her. And it made me somewhat hesitant the second time around.

But at the age of three, I figured she was old enough to at least somewhat understand what was going on. So, we dropped her off, again before we spent the next five or six hours out on the golf course. By the time we came back, she was the last kid at the daycare waiting for us to pick her up.

I braced myself for the tears and screams as soon as I went over to her.

But this is what she said: "Oh, can I just stay a little bit longer? Can you guys leave?"

Just hearing G say those words had me breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Whew! She was happy.

And deep down, we were happy too.

It meant the world knowing that she was actually excited to be there, not crying when we arrived and telling us not to bring her back.

Without a doubt, the Smucker's Child Development Center is a special place. I knew it the moment the teachers got G to take a nap. Because, well, she never naps. But one day when I came to pick her up, the lady at the daycare said: "G napped for a whole hour. I know you said she doesn't nap, but she did today."

I was both shocked and proud they somehow managed to get her to sleep. So it was a really cool moment — until we got back home. G didn't go to bed that night until 1:00 a.m.

As you can imagine, I was pretty tired after staying up all night, but I was also thinking this is a one-time thing. There's no way it was happening again, right?

So, the next day, I picked her up, and the teacher said, "Yeah, she napped again for an hour."

"Oh, okay," I said.

Another night of being up until 1:00 a.m. had me asking the teachers to please give her a tablet or something so she'd stay awake.

We had some laughs about that. But honestly, they were so great with it.

To be fair, I'm sure the teachers need their quiet time as well. They've got kids all day long. So, the fact that they were willing to keep G entertained while the rest of the kids napped is pretty amazing.

I couldn't do that. And I only have one kid!

Honestly, I think this is one of the best ways to describe who these wonderful people are.

It really isn't all that surprising because the teachers at the Smucker’s Child Development Center are one of a kind. They've made things very comfortable for us. We feel safe and happy with them. It's like this great family and great company that genuinely wants to help us succeed as both athletes and mothers.

They've been at this for how long? 30 years?
Honestly, they don't even have to do this. So for them to keep stepping up and sponsoring this program for all of those years is just really special. And it isn't just babysitting, either.

They help them with their studies as well. It's like the best of both worlds to see G being taken care of and getting a good education while she's in their care.

The other cool component is you become really close with the other parents with kids. Trust me, we are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and asking questions about our children. Should they be doing this? Should they be doing that? What about this? And what about that? It never ends, really.

With this little baby boom, more and more of us are coming together and experiencing all of this. We just really appreciate what Smucker's has done.

They clearly haven't missed a beat yet.

We really couldn't be out there doing what we do without Smucker's Child Development Center. Them being here makes us breathe a little easier. We'll always be thankful for this program.

Golf has been a huge part of my life for so long, and I don't plan on that changing that any time soon.

You know, just having that extra help with the program gives me a chance to focus on my game and what I want to accomplish with my career. Even as G gets older, for me, retirement isn't in the cards right now.

I'd love to keep going as long as Annika Sorenstam, who has been such an inspiration to so many players, including me.

My hope is to continue doing what I love for as long as I can.

I'm already thinking about the Legends Tour or and other aspects of the LPGA tour.

G obviously will have outgrown the Smucker's program by then, but I'd hope she'd still be around to come and watch me compete.

From a crying one-year-old being dropped off at daycare by her mom to a beautiful young woman attending an event, I have to admit, it would be pretty cool to see it all come full-circle.

Maybe it will one day.

Maybe golf can be a part of our lives for the rest of our lives.