Jamie Smulian watched through the years as her mother dealt with frequent moves, a husband who was often away on business and two children born four years apart.
From that, the observant Westminster West Middle sixth-grader wrote the winning essay to make her mother, Carol Smulian, Westminster's 1993 Mother of the Year.
Mrs. Smulian was honored yesterday by Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and other officials at City Hall. In front of television cameras and news reporters, the soon-to-be-12-year-old read her two-page essay to her mother.
"I didn't know she had sent the essay in," said Mrs. Smulian, 38"They called me, and I didn't know what to think, so I said to hold on, and I asked Jamie if she sent in the essay, and she said yes."
For the class project, Jamie wrote things she remembered from watching her mother deal with her younger brother, Jonathan, 8, as well as other children. Jamie covered a mother's progress from the birth of a baby through the child's growth.
"Mothers have to put up with a lot of things," Jamie wrote, listing such things as the toddler stage, the questioning stage, preteen years and finally, "where their hormones are working up, and they are kind of weird."
Paul Smulian, Jamie's father, is an Army career man whose job has taken him all over the world. The family has been in Westminster for just one year, Mrs. Smulian said.
"He's counting down to retirement in about 18 months, and we plan to stay here if he can get another job," Mrs. Smulian said.
She is a stay-at-home mother, which Jamie said makes a difference to her.
"She's always home and picks us up from the bus stop a lot," Jamie said.
In selecting the winning essay, the committee uses the "goose bumps test," said Carol Donovan, recreation and activities supervisor.
"Jamie's essay was particularly humorous and insightful, knowing what a mom goes through day to day," Ms. Donovan said.
For her honor, Mrs. Smulian was given lunch at Champ's
Restaurant and various other gifts.