Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

There are some columns you just can't not write.

The Mother's Day column is one of those. I rank it third in my panoply of holidays, just behind Christmas and Easter.

Christmas and Easter are religious things for me. Honoring mothers can get religious too.

I've been without my mom for nearly 40 years now. But I was blessed to have her throughout my childhood and into young adulthood. She did manage to stay alive long enough to meet her grandson, too.

It's my opinion that mothers shape all of our lives. Yes, fathers are important too, and yes, it's a crime how many kids grow up without those fathers. But that just strengthens my argument.

I've lost track of the number of athlete interviews where the stud football, basketball or (insert your favorite sport here) players who credit how their single mom raised them for their perseverance and work ethic. In the newspaper business, we celebrate young scholars every year who have succeeded because of the encouragement — and sometimes demands — of single mothers.

I've talked before about what great mothers my various wives have been. My son's mother was single for most of his childhood (not my choice) and he turned out great (clearly because I was around and still in his life). Seriously, she did a great job.

Later marriages meant watching — and sometime participating in — mothers raising their children. I've been constantly amazed at their capacity for loving and caring.

Maria (sometimes known as the one who stuck — we're close to 19 years now) has never stopped mothering. Not a smothering kind of mothering, but her kids know that she's always there for them.

Did you notice that smothering mothering thing? I wonder… But back to the topic at hand.

These days, I get to watch the daughters become mothers. Maria has two, Aimee and Charlotte. They are their own people, but the mother gene has clearly been passed on. Aimee is so into it that she's got a degree in kid-caring (or something like that).

I would be remiss if I didn't mention son Alex's wife, Lynn. I don't know her mother, but Lynn is one of those super moms — a school administrator working on her doctorate who still manages to be a great mom to Allison.

These are the loving moms in my personal orbit. As I said a while back, meeting great mothers has been a privilege of being in the newspaper business.

I know there are not-so-great moms out there, too. I'm sorry for those who must make it on their own, without the support and love of a caring mother.

But I do believe that's the exception, not the rule. I don't think it is going too far to say that the loving mother is more responsible for what's good in the world than anything else.

I sincerely hope that your mom was one of the loving ones. And I'm sincerely thankful for all the loving mothers out there.

In fact, I'll make it a religious holiday after all. Mothers are saints.

Happy Mother's Day.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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