I was having trouble deciding on a suitable subject to write about this week. It’s been hard to stay upbeat given our recent weather. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had call to put my sunglasses on. Everyone in this area seems to be wading through a quagmire of mild depression from all of the rain. There’s just been an aura of lethargy around my house because hey, what’s greater than having three kids under age 5 at home during the day who can’t go out and play?! I’ve been resourceful though. I have them working on the Ark while I go out and gather two of every animal. I think that even the local farmers, and ducks are thinking; “okay, enough already!” My own inner monologue has been along the lines of; “alright Mother Nature, we get it, you win, and you are still in charge. Now can you throw us a bone please?”

Thinking about Mother Nature reminded me that this weekend is Mother’s Day. This is, in my opinion the most important holiday of the year. I’ve made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that I believe most of our recognized holidays are completely stupid and pointless, or at the very least, obsolete. I’ve also mentioned countless times that if it were up to me we would do away with all holidays except for Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Mother’s Day. And I’ve not wavered at all in my thinking.

I have been blessed and fortunate enough to have spent significant time with whom I believe to be the two greatest Mom’s in history. One of them had me and the other had my children. And though sadly the two never met, the similarities between them are eerie. They are also the two women solely responsible for molding me into the man I am today. While my thoughts on the afterlife are foggy at best, I can’t help but think that my Mom had a hand in my meeting my wife.

It’s no secret here that my three favorite subjects to write about are my children, my Mom, and my wife. This week I’m going to focus on a few anecdotes about my Mom. My Mother was, is, and always will be my hero. And I don’t mean the modern day watered down version of the word “hero”. That word is now as diluted as the word epic has become. Epic used to mean; fighting giant sea monsters and crazy chicks with snakes for hair and surviving insane journeys. Now it just means; that’s kind of cool. And the word hero has met a similar fate in recent years. Hero was once aptly used to describe those who stormed the beaches at Normandy. Now the societal onion heads use the word to describe a goof who did nothing more than put on a dress and some heels. A dude who won some Olympic gold medals 40 years ago and has done nothing since except be a secondary cast member in a freak show sharing a house with the absolute worst humanity has to offer and living out their pathetic existences on basic cable for the ever growing society of non-thinkers in this country to watch on basic cable (Yes, I’m aware of the fact that I just created one of the longest run on sentences in writing history. I’m not being graded). Then the skull jelly at ESPN has the audacity to give this douche bag a “courage award”.

I have a different hero. My hero is a woman who was one of the eldest of a dozen children and put her own life on hold to play a significant part in the raising of all of her siblings…only one of whom was a sister. She then raised three children of her own, again without ever a thought for herself. She then battled cancer for the better part of 14 years, beating it five times like the badass that she was before losing her battle in bout number six. Never once in that span did she ever show a single moment of sorrow or self pity. She never once asked; “why me?” She never wanted or expected anyone’s sympathy and the only time she ever got upset at all about it was when she would lose her hair because then, others would know that she was sick. She also voluntarily counseled scores of complete strangers who had been diagnosed. To me, she was not only a hero, but a super hero. She was larger than life and I naively believed her to be immortal right up until her last breath.

My Mom very, very seldom got upset or lost her cool. Don’t get me wrong, she garnered respect, but she did so in the most gentle and compassionate way possible. In fact, looking back on it, I’m pretty sure I am the only person who could really piss her off. I’m not proud of this, but I think I actually made it an art form in my teen years. She was perpetually frustrated with my complete lack of effort toward anything pertaining to my education. I was the kid with the highest IQ in the class and the lowest GPA. All due to the fact that I did as little as possible to get by, and this drove her nuts.

I think it was the spring of my junior year in high school when things finally came to a head. She always let me know who was in charge, but we had never had a knock down, drag out until now. I had a term paper to write. We had been given, literally the entire semester to do it. My Mom noticed while going through some of my paperwork that I had never given her that the project was due the next day. She asked me what my paper was on and if I had finished. I very nonchalantly informed her that I wasn’t sure because I hadn’t started it yet. I watched her entire face tighten up like she had just walked out of the office of Joan Rivers’ plastic surgeon. Her face also changed colors multiple times like a mood ring on a schizophrenic. Then, like a long dormant volcano she exploded. She went on a 15 minute tirade about my chronic procrastination as I stood there in stunned silence staring blankly at her. When she finally finished and took a breath, I looked her straight in the eyes and very calmly said; “can we talk about this later?” I’m pretty sure that she wanted to kill me but the intentional irony of my response struck a chord in her and we both ended up laughing hysterically and hugging. I’m pretty sure that day was the only time she ever called me an asshole (st least out loud) and I most certainly earned that moniker. I’ve said countless times that I was a pain in her front for 9 months, and a pain in her ass for the rest of her life.

I could sit here and write stories about my Mom for days, but I’m going to cut it off here so I can end on a high note. She’s been gone nearly 14 years, and I still talk to her every day just as I did when she was alive. Happy Mother’s Day everyone. If you are fortunate enough to still have you Mom living, than you are truly blessed. Make sure to take this opportunity to tell her that you realize it and how loved and appreciated she is. All I am I owe to my Mother, and all I have I would give for just one more day with her.

Thanks for playing along. I love you Mom! Miss you. Syd Nichols