An earthquake reminded Randi Mahomes why she needed church in her life. Two decades ago, she was married to Pat Mahomes, a professional baseball player, with whom she had two sons, including NFL phenom Patrick Mahomes II As a new mom who moved every few months for Pat’s career, Randi’s hands were full.
Pat was well known in Tyler — the small town wasn’t exactly crawling with major-league pitchers. That spotlight was a mixed blessing for Randi. “People would say to me, ‘You don’t have to work, you must be so lucky! You have this house, this pool, it must be so great,’” she said. “But I remember deep inside, I was hurting.”
She was known mostly then as Pat’s wife, and more recently as Patrick’s mother. There were fewer and fewer places where she felt she could simply be Randi. Church was one such sanctuary. But during those turbulent, fast-paced years, she’d largely stopped going, until Pat’s baseball career whisked the family overseas for a stint in Japan, and some new friends invited her to join them for a Sunday service.
During worship that Sunday, she experienced her first earthquake. It wasn’t the earthquake itself, but the way the community reacted to her as a visitor, that renewed her faith. “Everyone knew I’d be nervous,” she said. “The preacher stopped preaching, and everyone looked at me and checked if I was OK.”
family, brought her to the weekly service and youth group. “I’d go with their family almost like I was another add-on kid,” she said. Randi recently took her daughter, Mia, who is 9, to see her childhood church in Troup, about 20 miles southeast of their home in Tyler. The church building is now owned by a school, and seeing it again brought back strong memories for Randi. “To me, it was a safe place,” she told her daughter. “We knew every corner of the church, we were there so much. It was like a second home.”
She added later, “There are a lot of things I might change from my past, but that is something I would not change.” Randi wanted her children to have that kind of spiritual home. When she and Pat divorced, she became a single full-time mother to their two young sons, Patrick and Jackson. To support her family, she took daytime and night shifts at the Hollytree Country Club in Tyler, starting as the receptionist before working her way up to a 15-year-career as events director.
As her children grew, work, school and sports kept Randi from being as present a mother as she wanted to be. But she prioritized church, trusting God to fill in the gaps that she couldn’t provide herself. “I tried to make sure every Sunday we were at church,” she said. “If I can’t teach my kids, maybe they will hear something at church that will drive them in the right direction. I made sure God was our foundation.”
When Patrick was in middle school, Randi found a church near their home with a youth group; convenience mattered with her busy schedule. Patrick didn’t love it, and Randi resigned herself to forcing him to attend. When Patrick was invited by a school friend to join her youth group at a different church, he told his mother, “It’s kind of far from our house.” “I will make it happen,” Randi replied, determined to support his faith development.
It was worth the trip. One Sunday, Patrick’s youth group was invited to lead the worship service. Though not from a family of singers, according to Randi, Patrick was on the pulpit, singing with the group. “He had his hands up with his eyes closed,” Randi said, “and I remember thinking, ‘My job’s done, he knows God, and as a mother I can see it.’”
Randi is back in the limelight now that Patrick is the star quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. He led his team to win Super Bowl LIV in February and signed a record 10-year contract extension in July. Parents of adult children know the challenge of carving out family time from busy lives. But how many know how that feels when your child is the face of the NFL?
“It’s all been a learning curve for us — how to be a family in this new reality,” Randi said. She recalled the moments earlier this year when the family was together for the contract signing, a priceless family gathering that Randi called “food for my soul.”
“She doesn’t like the limelight on her,” said the Rev. David Dorn II, who met Randi while he was the lead contemporary pastor at her Tyler congregation, Marvin United Methodist Church. “But she’s always lived adjacent to the limelight. It’s not always an easy position to be in.”
Randi attended Dorn’s service with Jackson and Mia every Sunday — except during football season, when they went to Patrick’s home games. According to Dorn, she was an active member who loved bringing new people to the church and giving supportive feedback to the pastors. His “I’m a Mess” sermon, in which he lifted up the truth that we are all messes in motion — works in progress — resonated with her.
“Everybody’s got something that they’re working on,” Dorn said. “You just don’t necessarily see it. We are all in the same boat, the messiness of family life and life in general.” “That’s the message I want to get out to people,” Randi said. “You can be a single mom, a single dad, any family, and look at us and think, ‘Oh, my gosh, you’re so lucky!’ — and of course I want Patrick to have his dream, and that’s what I pray for!”
But things in the spotlight aren’t perfect either, she said. “I’m very proud of how humble Randi’s remained,” said Sunny Bodeman, who has known Randi since her daughter attended school and church youth group with Patrick. “She’s still the same person,” Bodeman said. “She didn’t let it go to her head, and she wants the same for her kids. Patrick is the same — he’s not flashy, and he could be.”
That groundedness is being tested since Patrick has achieved superstardom in a league and society fraught with racial tension. He now has a platform at a pivotal moment. He also has a special ally in his mother. When she was 16, she moved out of her parents’ house because they didn’t approve of her dating outside her race (Randi is white; Patrick’s father, Pat, is Black).
“I look back at it now as a parent,” she said. “I think it was to protect me and to protect my children from the meanness of the world. We were in a small town where no one dated outside their race.”
Randi acknowledges that Patrick was mostly shielded from racism because his father was a celebrity. She remembers overhearing one of Patrick’s high school friends using the N-word in front of him. She intervened to make it a teachable moment — for the friend and for Patrick — about why that was unacceptable.
When Patrick needed advice on how to use his voice, she offered him her hard-earned wisdom. “Whatever you decide to do,” she said, “remember — your sister and brother look up to you. When you make a decision to do something, I want you to be able to explain it to Mia and Jackson, and eventually to your own kids. Their eyes are on you. Be passionate about it, and pray about it.”
On June 4, 10 days after George Floyd’s death sparked nationwide outrage, Patrick and several prominent football players posted a video online demanding that the NFL listen to its players and support the Black Lives Matter movement. A day later, league commissioner Roger Goodell posted a response in which he apologized for not listening to players sooner and affirmed that “Black Lives Matter.” Many observers believe it was Patrick’s appearance in the video that provoked the immediate response because he is the face of the sport.
“I have been proud of him,” Randi said of how Patrick has handled himself as a public figure. “I think what I told him stuck with him. Thankfully, he’s very mature, very smart. Patrick’s out in this world, with the world at his fingertips. I remind him: God has gotten you here.”
True to form, Randi is loath to take credit for her children’s successes. She said, “Now people say I’m doing such a good job. I say, ‘I can only pray and leave it to God to handle the rest.’ And that’s how I’ve tried to raise my children. They will make mistakes, just like all of us. “They’re normal.”