Mothering Heights: My Academy Awards

By Christine Fugate.

I’m feeling oxygen deprivation as I realize there are only four days left of school. We must keep calm and carry on. Or as I like to say, “Keep calm and eat chocolate.”

Instead of whining about the fact that I have not made any plans for my kids, I want to focus on the positive. I am pleased to hand out my first “I don’t how she does it” awards to some of the people that have inspired me to be a better parent during this past school year.

My youngest daughter’s fourth-grade teacher, Marie Bammer, educates a bunch of pre-pubescent kids all day with love, patience and creativity. The kids do everything from building houses with electricity to creating ecosystems with fish. After a day of fish food and glue guns, Mrs. Bammer goes home and takes care of her own three children, all under the age of 7.

She gets the first “I don’t how she does it” award for stamina and patience.

My sixth-grader has wonderful teachers at Thurston Middle School. (Note to moms with graduating fifth-graders: there’s no need to worry.) One teacher, Penny Dressler, has motivated my daughter to run a mile in under eight minutes (My daughter has just corrected me. Her time is seven minutes, 30 seconds.). I don’t think she had seen anyone run a mile before. Not anyone in our household.

In addition, Mrs. Dressler has taught her how to plant, weed and water a garden. I’m hoping in seventh-grade, she will throw in some dishwasher and laundry education. I’m awarding her the “I don’t know how she does it” award for motivation.

Speaking of running, my girls had the best experience playing basketball at the Boys and Girls Club this spring. Each of their coaches, Powell and Brian, were calm and confident. If only I could parent like that. At the games, they believed in the girls, taught them plays and didn’t even scream or yell. Imagine that. I’m awarding them the “I don’t how he does it” award for always speaking with an inside voice.

My power couple award goes to Tammy Skendarian and her husband, Marcus. They work full-time, raise three children and donate hours of their time to our schools. Marcus just completed his term as Schoolpower president and Tammy was parliamentarian of the Top of the World PTA and will be Thurston’s PTA treasurer next year. Every time, I see them they have a smile on their face.

I don’t know how they do it, and never will. My husband and I can barely bring snacks to a basketball game, much less run an organization.

My final award goes to a group of parents I like to call Laguna’s Party of Five. For the past two years, they have worked with the district to improve the quality of our school lunches. They meet on weekends, write proposals and attend school board meetings. They receive the “I don’t know how they keep doing it” award.

I mean, in a town with some of the best chefs and farm-to-table menus, why are the schools serving taquitos , popcorn chicken and hot dogs? I don’t get it.

What I do get is the dedication it takes to educate and take care of our children. The principals, school staff, bus drivers, coaches, PTA volunteers, and Schoolpower members are all on my inspiration list.

I have to put teachers at the top though. I don’t know how they do it, but I am grateful. In the playground of life, they are my schoolyard stars.

Have a wonderful summer!

Share your stars of this school year on Christine can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. Oh, Christine!!….This is so sweet. First of all, I’d like to thank all the little people…. Ha ha, just kidding. Truly, I am SO not worthy of such kudos. Far too generous an award. I am so blessed to be in the presence of those young ones each day; THEY are the inspiration! You are pretty inspiring and insanely fabulous yourself; don’t know too many people who do all that you do, as well as you do it!!! Xoxo


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