Contrary to what the media tells you not all employers are evil slave-drivers. I was scheduled to go see my Mom for her birthday. I had no vacation time but my employer said they would let me use my sick time since I never call in sick. That way I wouldn't lose any pay. The week before I was to go, I got really sick and had to take 2 days off. They paid me anyway for both the sick time and the time off to see my Mom. Kudos to your boss and good wishes for your Mom.