My mom’s coming in for Mother’s day weekend. She’s gonna meet Amy. My mom reads my columns and The Nate Way.

This is going to be a little awkward.

Anyway, because Mother’s Day is coming soon, and I probably won’t post again until Monday unless something really amazing happens in the world of sports and/or pornography, I’m gonna take this opportunity to address some of the things my mom did to help make me the great (and humble) person I am today.

Mom encouraged me to write. When I was in second grade, a teacher named Ms. Hawkins discovered the damndest thing. It turned out, the blond kid who kept getting in trouble for fighting, kissing the girls and making jokes during class could actually read and write at an above average level. In fact, Ms. Hawkins thought he was such a good writer that she gave him an hour a day to sit and write whatever he wanted (on one of those old school, green screen, Apple IIe computers—man, those sucked). That kid’s mother read every word he wrote and offered feedback and constructive criticism while all the while never actually complimenting his above average talent. She nurtured the writing without spoiling the writer. Few mothers could have pulled that off. Mine did.

Mom trusted me. When I was in junior high, I almost flunked out. My horrible behavior and below average grades were of grave concern to my mom, who came up with a compromise. She said, “As long as you keep an A average in high school, you’ll have no curfew. You can come and go as you please and we won’t even punish you for anything shy of an arrest.” I graduated high school in the top ten percent of my class and got a scholarship to college despite the fact that I was arrested five times in those four years. Mom knew that, in time, I would figure out how to be a responsible adult. And she also knew that I would have to be the one to figure out how to pull that off. And she let me do it my way. Few mothers would have been that patient. Mine was.

Mom enjoyed me. Believe me when I say that I was not the easiest child to raise. I had issues with illegal businesses, drugs, alcohol, illicit sex and mental instability (there’s a reason the Army wouldn’t take me). Nevertheless, nothing brought a smile to my mother’s face like her children cracking jokes and enjoying themselves. And fortunately for me, I was one of her children. Many mothers wouldn’t enjoy having a blatant criminal for a son. I was lucky. Mine did.

Mother’s Day, in my opinion, is a crock. It’s one of those Hallmark holidays that was essentially created to inject money into the economy. But, unlike Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day at least serves as a reminder of the women who gave birth to us and offers us a day to contemplate how lucky we are that our mothers didn’t leave us in dumpsters or beat us stupid with lead pipes (to all of those readers out there whose mothers beat them with lead pipes or left them in dumpsters, I apologize for rubbing salt in the wounds). And I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful that my mother was able to raise me into the man I am today, because the military recruiters, school principals, most of my teachers and several police officers were all dead sure I’d be killed in a bar fight or end up in jail. Not a lot of mothers would have been able to make me into a decent human being. Mine was. And for that, I kindly thank her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.