Russell admires the strong women in his life

Cubs shortstop applies mom's advice now that he has his own family

Russell admires the strong women in his life

CHICAGO -- When Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was little, he would make cards or origami for his mother, Milany, on Mother's Day. This Sunday, Russell will celebrate not only his mother but his wife, Melisa, who gave birth to their son, Aiden, last August.

"To see their eyes twinkle whenever they look at each other and they look at you -- I didn't think I could have anything so beautiful," Addison said of Melisa and Aiden.

Russell, 22, one of the youngest players in the Major Leagues, said he and Melisa were both prepared for parenthood. The oldest of four children, Russell had to help his parents while growing up in Pensacola, Fla.

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"With my mom and dad being so young, and having to go through a lot of struggles and overcoming a lot of struggles together, I think that's what has driven me to this point," he said. "They were just trying to live their lives, and not for themselves but for their kids. They were a loving family."

The Russells -- both the parents and the kids -- had to grow up fast.

"My mom has always given some of the best advice that I can remember," Addison Russell said of Milany.Courtesy of Addison Russell

"[My parents] worked a lot and they were away from us, and we had to step up on our own a little bit and had to be a little street smart and raise ourselves," Addison said. "I helped raise my brother and sisters. I knew at a very young age that whenever I got on my feet, I would have children at a young age."

When Addison and Melisa found out she was pregnant, they were excited.

"We look back and see how things unfolded, and we're glad we're at the point we are today," he said.

Melisa faced down the challenge of not only becoming a mother at a young age, but also being the wife of a big league ballplayer.

"She had a lot of things to overcome herself -- being brought into this lifestyle and being a mother and in this lifestyle are two different things," Addison said. "It's hard to get used to at first. She's here, we're married and we're going to have each other's back."

They met through a mutual friend in Pensacola. Melisa was on break and they had lunch. Both Addison and Melisa are 50 percent Filipino and proud of their heritage.

"She made a great first impression on me, but we didn't meet again until the following year," Addison said. "Sparks just flew then."

In late April, Melisa participated with other Cubs wives in a 5K charity run that started and finished at Wrigley Field. It was her first race.

"That's something that I've always admired about her is that she always tries," Addison said.

Now their focus is on Aiden, who is very active and almost walking.

"Aiden is starting to say 'Daddy' now," Addison said. "To watch him transform day by day is awesome."

Russell also has a daughter, Mila, and when he's not at the ballpark making plays at shortstop, he's busy with family. Milany has helped the young couple.

"My mom has always given some of the best advice that I can remember," Addison said. "She told me -- and I'm pretty sure she told Melisa, too -- that a marriage is this thing you take care of. You have to protect it and treat it with such care. You have to be able to grow it. My mom puts it in a way I can't bring to life, but that's basically what she says."

It's a good message to share this Mother's Day.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.