Lemay woman named Mother of the Year

Fourteen-year-old Kristina Kohl nominated her mother, Colleen, to become the Calls Mother of the Year.

Fourteen-year-old Kristina Kohl nominated her mother, Colleen, to become the Call’s Mother of the Year.

By BILL MILLIGAN

Kristina Kohl of Lemay displayed maturity beyond her 14 years when she nominated her mother, Colleen, to become the Call’s Mother of the Year.

“I think that all mothers have to be superheroes,” Kristina wrote. “There is no other explanation as to how mothers like mine can do everything a normal person does and then come home and cook, clean and still have time to relax and spend time with her daughter.”

Colleen has been a single mom for most of Kristina’s life. The daughter of Patrick and Catherine Reilly of Concord, Colleen counts herself lucky to have Kristina.

“Every day people tell me stories about their relationship with their children and every day I think what a great daughter I have,” she said. “I’ve been very blessed as a single mom.”

Colleen is a lifelong resident of south county. Like her mother before her, Kristina will attend Mehlville Senior High School next fall.

“I was just an average student,” Colleen recalled. “This one (pointing to Kristina) is really blessed. I often wonder where she got her brains.”

One doesn’t have to talk with the pair very long before realizing how in sync they are. They finish each other’s stories, thoughts and sentences in rapid sequence.

“A lot of people say we look like sisters,” Kristina said.

“I hear that a lot,” Colleen said. “Or people say we’re just like siblings.”

“We don’t argue like sisters, though — unless she wants to wear my shoes,” Kristina said.

Colleen was enrolled in community college when she gave birth to Kristina. She is working toward a teaching certificate and finishing her education after a 14-year layoff. She is employed as a teacher’s assistant, working with special-education children at Antonia Elementary School in the Fox School District.

“I enjoy seeing kids growing and changing,” she said.

That includes her daughter.

“In the last year, she’s just really amazed me as far as maturity level and changing a lot,” Colleen said. “All of a sudden it’s like: What happened to my little one?”

The combination of Kristina’s enthusiasm and maturity is what earned Colleen the Mother of the Year honor.

“I really like how she supports me and supports my decisions,” Kristina said. “I told her I didn’t want to be in softball any more and she asked me if that was for sure.

“She’s let me get into the new things, yearbook and choir and book club and things like that. I just love her.”