A love letter to my Mom

There were lots of dramatic and soul-searching moments as I wroteSome People Even Take Them Home” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome Son and Our Journey To Acceptance. Some memories touched awfully close to the bone. More than a few provoked tears and upsetting disclosures about emotions and feelings.

Without question though, the most disturbing thing occurred when a New York book agent was editing the first draft. One day as we discussed the chapter about my early childhood he confided in a soft, almost secretive voice, “Frankly Tim, I found your parents quite cruel.” I exploded in anger and defensiveness. After giving him hell I immediately made some mild rewrites on the chapter. As time passed, I became more sad than angry that the agent was so clueless about raising a special needs child like me.

My parents were not cruel. They were just middle-class folks trying to do the right thing. They were advised by a very smart doctor to set standards, expectations and to treat me like you would treat every other child. That meant allowing me to walk eight blocks to school in metal braces and watching through gritted teeth as I fell off my bike100 times in one day. That took a moral and mental courage that inspires awe in me to this day.

On this Mother’s Day I can’t help but be profoundly grateful for my 90-year-old mother, Anita McGuire, who along with my late father, pushed back the tears so I could have as normal a childhood as possible. That push for normalcy gave me the fortitude and pluck I needed to succeed. The natural inclination of any parent is to pamper, protect and coddle their child. That’s the easy path. The hard road is to watch your child struggle with all the bumps, suffering and tears required to thrive and find independence. And that independence thing is really hard.

About 15 years ago my mother told a magazine interviewer, “We raised Tim to be independent but not this independent!” That’s the painful part. Every parent and every mother wants their children to forge their own path, but they would really like it to be the path they would choose. It seldom works out that way and yet, mothers still love, mothers are still proud and Mothers still stand by their children.

My mother exudes good health, smarts and a sharp mind at 90. Yet, I am well aware that my chances to tell her how grateful I  am for all her strength, courage and love, are dwindling.  So Mom, I am sorry for all the bad choices I made on my journey. They weren’t your fault (probably Dad’s). But if I have the gifts of determination, kindness, loyalty and grit, they are because of you. And, I am grateful I get another chance to tell you that in person. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Tim J McGuire is the author of “Some People Even Take Them Home” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome Son and Our Journey To Acceptance

This boxing fan is going to stand up against Floyd Mayweather and for women

Boxing was the sport of my youth. Nothing bound me to my father as a preteen as much as the Friday Night Fights. I would stay up late with my Dad to watch the likes of Carmen Basilio, Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Gene Fullmer. I loved the action. Admittedly, I have always been a pacifist, but that emotional bond to my Dad made me a huge boxing fan and the people who have loved me have been mystified.

The violence of the sport is unmistakable and the sleaziness is just as hard to defend. Yet, I have been to almost a score of championship fights in Las Vegas and other places. I have paid obscene amounts of money for tickets to fights and just as silly amounts to watch pay-per-view fights with my friends. I watched Mike Tyson savagely pummel opponents. I ignored his rape conviction and blindly poured money into his pocket.

Saturday night a long-awaited fight for boxing fans will take place between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. I really want to see that fight. Like most boxing fans I have wanted to see that fight for a long time. Despite that, I won’t be watching the fight and I am not going to buy it because I am not going to put a dime in the Mayweather coffers.

You see, Floyd Mayweather has been convicted five times for violence against women. Five times. Five times he has been convicted of battering and, threatening women. Yet, Saturday night he will make around $180 million dollars for his fight. None of that money he makes will be mine.

Many of you are asking if I will be off tilting at windmills instead. Perhaps. I am under no illusion that the money I refuse to pay for this pay-per-view fight will bring down Mayweather, nor do I believe it will strike anything like a fatal blow against domestic violence.

Yet, a couple of weeks ago my employer, Arizona State University, urged students and faculty to wear denim to protest domestic violence against women. I wore my jeans with pride. I just don’t see how I can turn my back on that meaningful protest and show any support at all for somebody who has been convicted of domestic violence five times.

Choosing not to support certain businesses who do things that I find reprehensible was something my late wife taught me. There were several companies we refused to do business with because they discriminated, they treated their employees badly or refused to accept every person as people of dignity. We never believed we would bring anybody to their knees or even make a big impact with our mini-protest but it felt like a battle worth waging.

I see not buying Saturday night’s fight not as a solution to any problem but as an act of conscience and solidarity with the women in my life. I refuse to see my boycott of the Mayweather fight as an act of Quixotic futility. It is an exercise of conscience that I pray might make the world safer.