It took me a long time to really see just how special my mother is. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized how truly rare it is to have a mom like mine. She’s a seemingly indestructible pillar of love and energy, and she’s absolutely the strongest person I know, but she is utterly powerless at sea.

My mom toughed it out for 18 years on her own, working two jobs while raising my sister and me. No matter how bad things got, she handled every challenge without ever once feeling sorry for herself. In naval combat, though, she wouldn’t stand a chance. Disorganized and totally inexperienced in seafaring, the woman who taught me everything would lead her entire fleet to certain ruin.

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Any crew who puts my wonderful, powerful mom in command of a ship are signing their own death warrants. You could give her the entire U.S. Navy fleet, and I guarantee she would sustain devastating losses against even the most poorly equipped Bangladeshi pirates.

Any crew who puts my wonderful, powerful mom in command of a ship are signing their own death warrants.

It’s who she’s always been: the beating heart of our family, woefully outclassed in any conceivable naval encounter.

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My mom raised us without child support, without food stamps, and often without sleep, and I sometimes regret how little I appreciated that. Now, I see the truth clearly: No one else could have raised me like she did, but at the helm of a ship, no one else would mistakenly fire on her own fleet during simple training exercises like my mom would. She has no business near vessels of any kind.

She once told me, “It’s not up to anyone but you to decide what you can and can’t do in life.” Every time I’m about to give up, I think about those words, even as I remind myself that in open ocean combat, my mom should ignore her own advice and give up immediately. She could squander a 10-to-1 advantage and be sunk in a matter of seconds. The depths call her name. It is her curse.

Everyone thinks their mom is the best, but mine truly is. Strong, determined, but tactically illiterate: That’s my mom. And I love her now more than ever.

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