Is there anything else a hardened columnist such as I could write about today? I think not. Today is Mother’s Day. Yes, that woman without whom not a single one of us would be here. Mothers are responsible for the greatest scientists, the working woman and the working man, the kings, the queens, the heroes and the bums.

Let’s not forget that mothers are responsible for the NBA, NFL and MLB athletes who, when the camera is on them, always mouth the words, “Hi, mom!”

As a person who spent many years in the trenches of psychology as a family therapist, I’ve become something of an expert of sorts on mothers. To paraphrase Barat, “fathers, not so much,” because, in our society, for better or worse, fathers take a back seat or, sadly, no seat at all in the family car.

I have seen the wonderful tenderness of some mothers, and I’ve seen the damage that can be done by the Joan Crawfords of the world — what I affectionately called “the momsters.” Most mothers, my own included, are somewhere in the middle. They do their best and sometimes succeed and sometimes fail, but they manage to get by because of the love they have for their children.

In the Bronx, where I grew up, there are some really daunting hills. I mention this because on the first day of spring, more often than not, there is a snowstorm or at least an ice storm. The first day of spring or thereabouts is also my younger brother’s birthday.

In the Stone Age, when I went to school, it was customary for a child having a birthday to bring in home-baked cupcakes for the whole class. This custom continued on through high school and ended upon entry into college somewhere far away from mom’s cupcakes. I’m only kidding, of course; no kid would be caught dead having his mom bringing cupcakes to school after third or fourth grade.

Anyway. My dear mother had baked cupcakes for my brother’s birthday. He was in kindergarten, so it was still cool to do that. It had snowed the night before. It was still snowing when we left. When we stepped off of the top step to our apartment house, my brother, who was small for his age, disappeared. He was in snow up to his head. I was tall for my age, so I was told to walk ahead of both my mother and brother to blaze a trail.

It was freezing outside, and not a single car passed us by. But we still trucked up that hill that I still would not want to tackle on a bicycle today. We made it to the top, and I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest without benefit of a Sherpa to guide me. I think my nose had become frostbitten. But there I was at the top of the hill without having dropped a single cupcake.

You know what’s going to happen next, don’t you? If you don’t then shame on you! Mom pounded on the school doors and a befuddled maintenance worker came to the door. In broken English, he told my mother, “Is no school today.” I sighed and we trudged back down that hill using the trail I’d busted.

Anyway, that’s my mom for you. The cupcakes were great. We got to stay home and play. And mom, you made us hot Ovaltine (don’t ask; we used to drink it when I was a kid.)

Today, think back to your favorite mom story. Call her or write to her, e-mail her or, better yet, visit and give her a hug. Moms are awfully special. Especially mine.

“Hi, Frieda Mager, my mom! Thanks for the cupcakes and Ovaltine. I love you, and I forgive you for the snow trek from hell!”

Michael Mager can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2338, or

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