The Best Mother of All Time, My Mom

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday. A good day.

Oftentimes I would hear my kids ask, “How come there’s not a kid’s day?” I would give them the same answer I heard from my parents and their parents before them, “Every day is kid’s day.”

My mom was a saint. Yes, I know that’s what everybody says about their mothers. Well, most everybody anyway. But in my mom’s case, it’s pretty true.

You see, I wasn’t always the stellar individual I am today. (A little joke here) I was, in fact, a troubled youngster that dragged my mother through hell and back.

I don’t want to bore you with the litany of incidents that started in school. Those incidents were almost sophomoric, what with the failing grades, detentions, trips to the principal’s office and afterschool study halls. Athletics was the only thing that kept me on the straight and narrow until later when minor transgressions evolved into drunken rowdiness. Let’s just say that from about 12 to 27, alcohol and I became good friends. Really good friends. I embraced the good life with round-the-clock gusto. But alcohol has a tendency to disregard my impulse control button. In other words, I would do stupid things that would get noticed by others. Even the long arm of the law took notice. Nothing too serious, thank you very much, but it could’ve been and I did spend a few frightening nights behind bars.

Also, I acted cruelly toward my mother on several occasions. More times than not, I caused my mother to cry and all she did was love me and support me. She never gave up on me. Even after bailing me out of the Los Angeles County Jail, she didn’t give up on me.

And then at 27, when I said goodbye to alcohol, mom’s face started to relax. Over time, she began to smile when she would see me. She began to sleep easier at night, without worry. She began to welcome me into her home without fear of embarrassment. She started laughing again. She had a great smile, my mom. I haven’t had a drink since Oct. 16, 1977.

Mom saw me graduate from college with honors. She saw me marry and give her two grandsons. She saw me become a successful journalist and become the senior media advisor for the very man who ran the jails that she bailed me out of when I became the spokesman for Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Mom left us in 2001. I was by her side. I was able to hold her hand, kneel by her peaceful face and whisper to her that it was OK to go. That I would be OK now. She had made it so and I thanked her for my life. I swear she had a slight smile as she passed.

Happy Mother’s Day.