Like the rest of my family, I’ve had a hard time thinking of a single story to share. Honorable mentions include her selective hearing when it came to my penchant for four-letter words during athletic competition and her patience when she let 5-year-old Nick try to walk around in her high heels. (Oh God, I’ve already said too much…)
But what I most treasure about my mom was her sense of humor. She had an ability to find the funny in most any situation, whether it was tragic—of which she had her share—or absurd, like the time I walked in the house at 2 a.m., freshly sprayed by a skunk.
Growing up the youngest, I played by a different set of rules than my siblings. I knew this—and I knew it drove Brian and (especially) Megan crazy. When I was 14, my parents brought home a new old car, meant to be Megan and Brian’s car to share. I desperately pleaded with my mom to let me drive it. Just down the block, Mom. I swear. My sister, correctly, reminded Mom that I was a solid two years from legally driving, so my nagging wasn't really going anywhere.
Undeterred, I managed to grab the keys and slip into the garage without detection. While my sister and mom were at the kitchen table, looking out into the back yard, that 1989 Ford Tempo slowly entered their field of vision, rolling from left to right, with 14-year-old me behind the wheel. I circled the house a few more times before safely returning to the driveway.
Megan, livid with my recklessness, looked at my mom to lay down the law for my direct disobedience. Too bad for her, Mom was too busy dying laughing, doubled over by the stupid prank from her little shit of a son.
In that moment, she knew what she was supposed to do—but all she wanted to do was laugh. This ability to find and appreciate the frivolity of life is my favorite way to remember my mom (and also a convenient excuse for me to make fart jokes at inappropriate times).