“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” These are the words of legendary musician Stevie Wonder describing his late mother, Lula Mae Hardaway. The same could be said by the family of local mom Jackie Williams, who is this year’s recipient of the Mother of the Year Rosie Award.
The Malibu Times’ annual award celebrating mothers is named in honor of Rosie York, the late mother of publisher Arnold G. York.
Jackie Williams is a familiar face in Malibu. An active parent participant in our local school district for the past 24 years, you may recognize Jackie by her signature appearance of long, shiny blonde hair and red lipstick—a pulled-together look for this busy mother. Her daughters—Stella, Gabriella, Olivia, Jessa and Hannah—range in age from 12 to 29.
“Not only is she just a fabulous mom of five daughters—four still at home—[but also] she still took the time to help other moms,” explained Williams’ husband actor/director/entrepreneur Anson Williams. “When the PCB problem hit Malibu Middle School, everybody was complaining, but Jackie was the one who said, ‘No, we have to do something now.’
She primarily, with some other people, got together and literally—in three weeks—created a new school. She convinced the homeschool K-12 program to have the first physical classroom in the United States. Pepperdine University was kind enough to donate a room. So, she basically created a whole school curriculum and classroom in three weeks so kids could continue their education without missing a beat and get away from a toxic environment.”
The school lasted for two years. Nearly a dozen children participated.
“Middle school years can be very tough years for kids, but it was two glorious years,” Jackie described.
“When they had the fire situation at MHS, Jackie was in there along with Jennifer DeNicola.” Anson continued. “ ... She put herself on the line. She just does this. She extends herself way past her family. She’s selfless, heartfelt, honest and caring to all kids and all moms. What a great example for the kids.”
Before Jackie had children, she was a well-paid Hollywood executive at a major film studio. She changed her focus, however, when pregnant with her first child.
“I had a great career. It was an exciting life,” she said.
When pregnant with her first child, she explained, “I had no idea what to expect. As soon as that little baby was born, it was just so clear to me that I needed to move on and leave the career behind to be there and raise my kids.”
However, she added, “I have nothing but the ultimate respect for working moms.
“I wish every mother a Happy Mother’s Day. It is a dang hard job and I hope none of us are ever judgmental of others and only supportive. If anyone ever said to me ‘job well done,’ I hope it would be my kids.”
And they did.
“My mom is awesome! She puts up with all us kids and she still smiles ... I’m so happy she won this award. I love my mom so much,” Stella shared. Gabriella said the lessons Jackie teaches are invaluable, like being stronger than the current. Olivia said, “She always puts others before herself, especially her daughters and she’s super fun to be around. I love to hang out with my mom.” Jessa added, “My mom is the strongest person I know, and I’m so thankful for everything she’s done to help me grow into the woman I am now. She’s kind, funny and she’s the best mom ever.” Her oldest daughter, Hannah, said, “I owe everything I am to my mom. She has set the bar so high for motherhood, I can only hope to be half as amazing of a mom as she was to me. She’s my favorite person in the world, and my best friend!”
Jackie will receive a coffee gift basket from Calabasas Coffee Co. valued at $50, four tickets to the Canyon Club to see Thunder from Down Under on Saturday, June 23, a Principal Secret Reclaim Botanical Deluxe Kit skin care from Victoria Principal, movie tickets to the Egyptian/Aero Theaters, a $50 gift certificate compliments of Jalan Jalan Imports in Topanga, a $50 gift card to Malibu Burger Co., a $75 store gift card to Anawalt’s Malibu Hardware & Supply, two tickets to an Explorer Tour for Malibu Wine Safari, a Veronica Signature Facial from Veronica Medical Spa, lunch for mom at the Malibu Farmers Market and a copy of “Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons From My Mother,” a book by Malibu author Jo Giese.
“Being a mom is everything to me. It’s my world, my passion, my joy, my pride. I can’t believe that I was blessed with five wonderful girls—all very different,” the mother of the year said. “I feel like the luckiest mom around.”