Mom – A Story

Hi guys, up until now you have only heard from Erin on the blog, well today that all changes. My first official post…and it may seem like I’m more of a girl than my wife!

When we come into this world we really only have a few things just by the nature of being born. Two of them are a mother and a father. But some of us are lucky enough to have a Momma and a Da-Da. Well this is a short story about my Momma.

As a preface: Today is the day my mom leaves her job of over 27 years managing (well, let’s be honest…running) an elementary school. I have been reflecting on why she ever got the job in the first place. She had three reasons. I am one of them, my sisters count as the other two.

My mom has been by my side ever since my first day on earth. When I say by my side I mean she has lived and worked within 5 miles of me for over 99% of my life.

My mom began working at Palisades Elementary School when I was just six years old. I can’t even remember what she started doing, but whatever it was meant she could be around my sisters and me more often and I could run to her when something went wrong. I was a sensitive little guy so it was always good to have Momma close by.

Somehow I survived elementary school – cursive, first girlfriends (crazy ones), bumps, bruises and the myriad of other things my mom gets to see every day as the office manager. When I was a Palisades “Wave” we were actually the Palisades “Pirates!” We had Crazy Hair Day, Crazy Hat Day, Western Day, shoot for all I can remember we probably had Jewish and Palestinian Peace Day. It was a regular bazaar of all sorts of fun! Now I hear it’s all business. It’s sad that these days school is all about being non-offensive and managing the budgets (or lack of a budget). I say cut all the people telling us what we can and can’t do and just let school be fun again!

It was second grade when someone convinced me to stick a paperclip into the top two holes in the electrical socket. Eat paste. Make a turkey out of construction paper and tongue depressors. Cherry drops from the monkey bars. Bad jokes. Mean kids. Great teachers. It was all part of growing up at Palisades…but I was extra lucky because I had my mom less than a few hundred feet away at all times.

Western Day – Circa “Hay Day”

I managed to make it through until sixth grade where my best friend and I ran fast, played hard and…oh wait…that’s when Nintendo came out. We ran to the Nintendo as early and often as possible and when we weren’t doing that, we were calling girls from the school phone list (this is all pre-facebook people) and asking them “out”. So much for a little foresight, it’s not a good idea to ask more than one girl “out” over the weekend and then show up for school on monday where they all attend. My sixth grade teacher managed to embarrass me further upon getting to class(which turned out to be a good lesson learned. Thanks!) But of course, my mom was there to comfort me even in my own self-induced love triangle or square. I licked my wounds and went home single. I’m not sure if an elementary school can have a hay-day. But I like to think that I was at Palisades during it’s hay-day! It sure felt like it.

I think I was in the sixth grade when I auditioned and won a key role in the play, it was something about a time machine… We spent weeks practicing and building sets, when the big moment finally came, the set fell over and I forgot most of my lines. My mom was sitting there to see it all unfold and give me a hug after. I’ve never thought about it but she’s probably seen 27 sixth grade plays go wrong – that’s comedy!

And then it all ended. Sixth grade was the end of my time at Palisades. I would have to leave my mom and head over to Shorecliffs Junior High where we all know scary things happen! That was the last time I put myself in the shoes of a Palisades Pirate. Now looking back on it, there have been thousands of kids that walked in my shoes. I was the only kid at Palisades with a mom that was at school every day. My mom has actually been THE Mom of the school. As the office manager she helped guide and work with parents, teachers and children for nearly three decades! If you stuck a paperclip in the electrical socket you probably went to see my mom for a little emotional support afterward. If your parents just couldn’t seem to get you to school on time, you had to go see my mom before you went to your class. If you fell on the playground or someone hurt your feelings…chances are you ended up in the office. My mom’s office. Yes, it has been “her” office for a few decades now.

Zephyr and me in the Pismo Beach Dunes

Through all the twists and turns my mom kept a family running and an entire school whipped into shape. I think what I’ve learned from pondering her career today is this: of all people, my mom knows that life rolls on. Life doesn’t stop because you skinned your knee. It doesn’t stop because your home is such a wreck your parents can’t get you to school. Over the last 27 years she has seen the same exact challenges year after year. Somehow we all get older. We all grow up. We figure out what we need to figure out. But what she might not realize yet is that while our lives roll on she has helped smooth out the road we travel on. Without her I would be a different person, life would be tougher and the hard times would be harder. I think we can all agree that without Mrs. Adams as the Palisades Momma in the office all our lives could have been a little more work and a lot less fun!

  • Allie

    Amazing years we had there. Amazing.

  • Stephanie Anfinson

    A sweet story, Chris! There’s nobody’s job that is harder than the School Secretary… a.k.a. Office Manager! Congratulations to your mom on her retirement. Palisades will miss her!

  • Meg

    The play was phantom tollbooth, Chris. This was a great read not only as a mum who works at my kiddos school, but also as a participant in those days long ago at palisades. Good luck in your adventures…and I’m quite certain you made your mama a very proud woman by the man you’ve become.