My mother is a devout Catholic. She attends mass all the time, works Bingo to help the church, and prays for my soul all the time. She's dealing with the alternate lifestyle thing pretty well, but we all have stumbling blocks.

My mother's boss was married last night to the man to whom she had been engaged for nearly a decade. There was a marvelous party, and everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I was asked to be the bartender, as I have a wealth of experience in the pouring and consuming of alcoholic beverages.

But it occured to me this morning that I had never seen my mother slightly incapacitated by the drink, let alone stupid-drunk like she was last night. I don't blame her, of course, because it was an emotional catharsis after so many years of anticipation and a solid month of preparation. She had a great time, and she smiled a lot.

But it reminded me that, perhaps, she hid a lot of "real life" from me while I was growing up. Did she cry more than I remember, just because she wanted to protect me from the harshness that is reality? From what else did she protect me?

More than anything, it reminded me that my mother put me ahead of herself for many years. It was nice to see her smile that drunk smile we all know.