Thank God for them.

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington

Like most every other man in America, I thought about my mom a lot on Sunday.

Karen and I went to a Neil Diamond tribute concert the night before, and my mom could have been sitting with us, she was so present in my mind’s eye. You see, she loved Neil Diamond.

A few years before she passed away, we took her to see the real Neil at the L.A. Forum, and I’ll never forget the light in her eyes that night. It was magical. She’d spent her whole life trying to do for her children with no thought for herself, and to give back to her was among the greatest joys of my life. Our family vacations…she was there. Special occasions…she was there. Mother’s Days…she had the seat of honor.

I wish she was here today so I could do so much more for her. Same with Karen’s mom.

My mother—Sophie (Matza) Mizrahi—was all Greek, through and through. If she was here, Karen and I would load her on plane bound for Greece with us and give her the trip she’d always dreamed of. (Next year, I’d always say to Karen, until my mom ran out of years.)

Her father begged her not to marry Dave months before he headed off for the Pacific to fight in World War 2. Small detail: my mom was pregnant with my oldest brother. I don’t want to say life was all bad in the years following his return. After all, I’m here as a result of his building our family.

Suffice to say, by the time I was a high school football player, I stepped in front of this burly, scary former Marine more than once to protect her. He could’ve killed me, but I knew he never would.

My mom used to love to tell the story of how I used to crawl into bed with her as a three- and four-year-old, one open hand barely touching her cheek, the other thumb in my mouth. The comfort she must have brought me in the midst of chaos.

I love Washington’s quote about his mother. Although I can’t attribute all my success in life to my mom—so much of that has to do with my marriage and my spiritual journey—I do credit my emotional maturity to her strong presence.

I think it’s fitting that our culture pays homage to all the mothers and grandmothers out there, including my wife Karen who is an amazing mom.

The holiday started in this country in the early 20th century, thanks to the tireless efforts of Anna Jarvis, a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers during the American Civil War. She wanted to honor her mother and all mothers for their sacrifices and contributions to society. Her efforts paid off in 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, a national holiday honoring mothers.

So, to one of my heroes…Happy Mother’s Day, dear mom of mine.

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