Nicholas W. McClellan
Nicholas W. McClellan

It’s nearly Mother’s Day and you know what that means? Honor and treat the mothers in your life. If you missed it last weekend, you (and the mothers in your life) still have three more opportunities to see Van Wert Civic Theatre’s production of Insane with Power, by Scott Haan; it’s a super comedy of heroic proportions being performed May 8, 9, and 10.

The story follows Lois Lancaster (Kim Hughes) as she investigates the current state of mental health facilities. What she assumes is going to be a “dry and boring story” turns a little more colorful when she discovers the inmates at the Stanley J. Kirby Psychiatric Hospital have “all concocted elaborate superhero fantasies.”

Lately, with all this talk of superheroes and Mother’s Day just around the corner, I started to think about my mom and how “super” I think she is. One particular event from my childhood, I will never forget (thanks to a supremely large scar on my leg), stands out in my mind.

Running in the darkness, I couldn’t see the rusty property marker embedded in the ground. I was racing for my life in an intense game of “jailbreak.”

My right calf brushed past the metal stake. It felt like a cat scratch as I continued running. The excitement of the chase was coursing pure adrenaline through my body.

“My leg!” I thought to myself. What I assumed was a minor cut turned out to be a major gash.

I was in a state of shock as I hobbled to our neighbor’s porch. “Ma, ma, mom,” I muttered softly finding it difficult to talk. Instantly, my mother sprang from her chair. Her motherly instincts sensed something was dire. “What’s wrong?” she urgently exclaimed. Standing at the door she quickly got her answer. My previously ordinary mother suddenly became “supermom” as she darted back into the house for medical supplies.

Instantly, she knew what to do. Within ninety seconds, my leg was cleaned and dressed and I was sitting in the passenger seat of our green Aerostar minivan en route to the emergency room. My state of shock began to diminish thanks to my mother’s quick and calm control. After it was all over, the five-inch gash in my leg required fourteen staples and several internal stitches.

At that time in my life, my mother seemed invincible. She was a bona fide superhero who seemed to have an ability to read the minds of her progeny. She could sense when we (my brother and I) were lying, depressed, or most importantly… in danger.

Yet, it seems my mother wasn’t the only person with “eyes in the back of her head.” Come to find out, all mothers possess this superhero trait in regard to their children. Yet, what causes this seemingly psychic connection between a mother and her child? The answer seems rooted in the power of love.

Last year, a team of researches in Tokyo used MRI to observe the brain patterns in mothers. The data revealed that particular areas of the mother’s brain light up when her children are in distress, showing a highly elaborate neural chain reaction corresponding to specific cries. In fewer words, mothers are able to understand (at a subconscious level) the message of their child’s cries.

And that’s not all that makes mothers “super.” According to Katherine Ellison from her book, The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter, mothers experience sharpened senses, which aid them in tending to their children. Women with children have a keener sense of smell (presumably to keep them away from spoiled foods). It seems our mother’s love and superhero status is rooted in a deep biological desire to sustain us… for as long as they humanly can.

Ultimately, my invincible mother isn’t as invincible as my young mind once assumed. She isn’t a superhero, and her health will gradually decline until her final curtain call. The fact that she isn’t a superhero doesn’t diminish my appreciation or my love for her. In fact, it encourages me to love her more knowing my time with her is limited.

I love my mother for every human quality she possesses. She is truly the kindest and most responsible person I’ve ever known. It is because of my mother that I choose to learn from my mistakes and put my best foot forward, everyday. Thank you, Linnette McClellan, for being my mom - I love you!

You too have an opportunity to salute the mothers in your life this Mother’s Day weekend by treating them to a night of laughter at the Van Wert Civic Theatre. Insane with Power, the superhero farce of epic proportions (our last production of the 2013/14 season) has only three more performances: May 8, 9, and 10. All performances are a mere $10 and begin at 8 p.m. Call (419) 238-9689 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to make your reservations.

See you at the show, my fellow citizens!