I still remember the time when, as a little boy, I aspired to be like my heroes, Superman and Batman. As a kid, everyone is captivated by the death-defying tales of a superhero’s amazing feats, daring rescues and noble justice. Sadly, as we get older, we understand that these individuals are just fictional characters, and we lose the small part of us that needs a hero to look up to.

Even the national heroes, such as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, although certainly brave and selfless, do not affect me directly. And, once in awhile I find myself wondering, who my heroes are. Although I have realized that, in my life, there are many people who I admire greatly. But a hero would have to be someone special, a person who would sacrifice his or her own enjoyment to provide for the needs of others. I thought that unless I suddenly became friends with a saint or a person like Capt. Sully, this requirement would bar everyone from my hero list.

Richard Liang, sophomore, Maria Carrillo High School

After a good while thinking about this, I suddenly realized who my hero is and always will be. In fact, I also became aware that I had always known the answer: My mom.

I figure that whoever reads this will undoubtedly first think that this is cliche, and I do not deny it. However, just as “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” things like that become truisms because, as the name implies, they are undeniably true. For almost everyone, if asked who has made the biggest positive impact in their life, there would be few for whom their mother does not top the list.

Ironically, I know that despite everything she’s done for me, as a normal teen, sometimes a mom’s help can feel like such a great burden. I don’t know how many times I’ve argued with her or let her words flow from one ear right out of the other. Sometimes her advice seems sound and beneficial, but on other occasions, I have to be coerced unwillingly to follow it.

Frankly, I know that when confronted with the pressures of keeping up with my academics, sports and other activities, I, like any other normal teen, would rather stay within comfort zones. At these times, it is a mom who, out of unconditional love, pushes and prods her children to overcome these challenges. Often these attempts are not met with appreciation but rejected with annoyance and discontent. Yet, despite this, mothers continue to make attempts to open the eyes of their children and make them successful.

This is one relationship that is seems to defy logic, yet I found it was captured perfectly in Anita Renfroe’s famous “Mom Song,” a YouTube video that spread like wildfire a few years ago. As a comedian, she sang a song of all the common tasks and phrases that a mom uses in her never-ending job of trying to help her children to be happy. When I listen to this song, I cannot help but catch myself thinking, “Wow, that sounds so much like my mom.”

In the song, she describes the typical things that a mom would say: make your bed, clean your room, pay attention in school, etc. She also incorporates so much of the common phraseology, such as, “If your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” — something adopted by moms all around the world. Whether by asking, encouraging or even scolding, a mom does everything that she can to help, even if this means facing anger, tears or immovable stubbornness. In return, moms ask so little for their sacrifices, only that “I’d thank you not to roll your eyes at me.” Rather, in the end, she still she reminds kids of a mom’s most important message, “Don’t forget, I love you.”

A mother will give anything and everything for her children, not because the hopes of later retribution or recognition, but because of her love. For this reason, in her sons’ and daughters’ eyes, a mother always will be the hero that they look up to and appreciate.

Happy Mother’s Day!