by Brian Truitt)
Toni Domenech was inspired by a sequence in her own life to write a new comic-book story for Mother's Day, though she is quick to point out that it's a holiday to also honor someone who has been a role model.
"It is a celebration of the person that taught you to become the person who you are today," says Domenech, whose I Love You, Mom with artist Mike Feehan is exclusively presented by USA TODAY.
In the story, a mother and her college-age daughter recall past times during a trip to the airport before they go their separate ways. It comes from a pivotal time in Domenech's life and "shows the end of my youth and the beginning of my adulthood," she says. "It is hard for anyone taking that first step off on your own, the world can be a cruel place.
"The hardest part is not making it too campy nor downplaying the hardships of separation. This story it about letting go but knowing the ones closest to you will always be there, no matter the distance."
Domenech's own mother "taught me so much growing up and even today," the writer adds. "She is very insightful and a caring human being, who knows how to handle any situation with grace and aplomb. She is a leader, who has shown me the confidence to become an independent woman."