A mom setting the world on fire

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire!”

–St. Catherine of Siena

Somewhere in the past 38 years, I found my voice.

I was silenced for far too long; and life is far too short to sit on the sidelines to not do or say anything.

As a journalist, I spend my days asking questions in an effort to gain answers.

Truth be told, not everyone wants to hear or read the truth. The truth is ugly. We try to paint picturesque scenarios in an effort to hide what is really going on in society.

People make weak attempts to skew the truth to make it work for them.

And the amount of ass-kissing makes me nauseous.

In the end, life is only black and white. There are no shades of gray.

Perhaps that is my downfall in life.

Remember going on job interviews when the interviewer would ask, “What would people say is your weakest quality?”

I used to answer, “I am an over-achiever who pays attention to detail. I am not satisfied with less than ideal outcomes.”

That was my answer.

Now, if I was put in a room, my answer would simply be, “I am outspoken and honest. I do not sugar coat anything in life.”

That is my weakness at the age of 38.

I tell it like I see it.

Because really, what is the point of living a fake life? What is the point of pretending to be who we are day in and day out? What is the point of putting on a façade? Who are we trying to impress with our smokescreens?

Over the past three weeks, people have been trying to put out my flame. They have tried over and over again to quiet my voice. They have tried to change the way I see things happening in our community. I have been talked about behind my back. I have been singled out by those who believe they have more clout than me. My name has been dragged through the mud enough times to leave ruts.

And that’s fine because I am who God created me to be.

I will continue to use to my voice. I will continue to be passionate about what I believe in. I will continue to stand up for my children. I will continue to shed light on subjects that others may deem taboo.

I will not go down without a fight. My fire will never go out.

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at http://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com. Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParenthoodthenewCrazyTrain/

 

 

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Heartbeat

Middle of the night, Oct. 30, 2001

From the depths of my dream, I heard the landline phone ringing on the side of my husband’s nightstand.

“BBBbbbbrrrrinnnnggg …. Bbbbbrrrriinnnggg …”

I grabbed it on the third or fourth ring. In a groggy voice, I whispered a simple, “Hello? …”

The person on the other end wasn’t as quiet. In fact, I heard fear and sadness in her voice.

“Melis … my dad died …”

I swore I was still dreaming.

“WHAT?”

“He and my mom were walking and he just had a heart attack on the sidewalk,” my former college roommate turned bridesmaid in my wedding (now the Godmother of my twins) said.

I quietly padded down the hall and down the five steps, into my living room, so as to not wake my husband.

There, on the couch, I just sat and listened to my best friend share the worst day of her life through the telephone.

Sarah’s mom was an OBGYN nurse. She had seen her share of scares, but this was something completely different.

Sure, heart disease ran in Bob’s family, but no one in a million years thought he would die from a heart attack. That only happened to “other” people’s parents.

Not a father of four grown daughters and a handful of grandchildren to boot.

Not to a man who wasn’t retired.

Not to a man who had yet to see his youngest daughter marry and have two girls of her own.

Not to a man who loved his wife and God.

But it did.

To this day, no one knows why Bob died on October 29, 2001.

But what I do know is the passing of Bob Bednarski shook my friend’s family to the very core.

It also opened my eyes to realize life is fragile.

And I never want to see anyone go through that again. It’s not fair.

For one Grafton, Ohio mom, she got lucky. Others aren’t so lucky.

On April 3, 2016 the mother and grandmother suffered what doctor’s refer to as the “Widow Maker” – mostly this type of heart attack hits men, but this time around, it hit her.

Her family called 911 and began CPR.

They did everything by the book.

Moments later, Brent Payne, a part-time police officer with the Village of Grafton, arrived. En route, he heard the words “full cardiac arrest” come across the scanner.

He knew what he had to do, and he was prepared.

Tucked away inside the trunk of Brent’s patrol car was an AED unit. The AED, or automated external defibrillator, is the device that may have saved the woman’ life. An AED is a portable electronic device that can automatically restart a heart rhythm.

“I always have it on my shift in case of incidents like this,” Brent said. “After speaking with paramedics on scene, they determined that if I did not have the AED with me and able to deliver the initial quick shocks, she may not have made it to the hospital with any signs of life.”

But, if any other officer had shown up at the Grafton woman’s door, no one is for certain what the outcome could have been.

You see, up until April 3, there was only one police officer on the Grafton Police force who carried an AED unit – Brent Payne. And, he was a part-time police officer. To say he was meant to be covering the night shift on April 3 is an understatement.

I don’t know if Brent truly understands the gift he gave to the family in Grafton, Ohio.

I hope he does, because in my gut, I know that rather than planning a Mother’s Day celebration, they would have been planning her funeral in early April.

I’m not sure if my friend’s dad would have survived his heart attack if a store nearby carried the AED units as some do now. But, that was in 2001 – and protocol is different now.

While Sarah’s dad is forever watching his family from Heaven, the Grafton mom has been given a second chance at life – that alone is the best Mother’s Day gift of them all.

 

About the author:

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She has been featured as a blogger on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference site, www.humorwriters.org. She also writes, edits and manages her blog, https://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com/. She can be reached at mlinebrink@yahoo.com.

 

‘Dress-up’ days at school = hellish mornings

“PING-PING” — the cell phone chimes.

It’s an alert that I ignore.

Two seconds later, I open two folders from two different children, who happen to be twins.

Two pretty pieces of orange paper fly out and land at my feet.

Two seconds after that, another sound emits from my phone telling me someone from town has posted a notification on a parental social media page.

Finally, after reading through the messages, notes and notifications,  I want nothing more than to throw the cell phone or burn the folder.

Fuck me: It’s a “SCHOOL-WIDE DRESS-UP DAY”

“We’re ‘groovy’ for reading … Wear your GROOVY clothes tomorrow!”

Fuck me again. Didn’t we just have “DRESS UP AS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTER!” Day?

I don’t have time for this shit.

Sure, I get the reminders (obviously), but still, there’s a part of me hoping the twins weren’t paying attention at the end of the school day when THEY too are reminded of the impending “DRESS-UP DAY.”

For “DRESS UP AS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTER” we went ALL OUT. And by that I mean, they were themselves.

“You have written books about yourselves before … remember?” I tell them.

“Oh, yeah” they say seconds later.

PERFECT.

Then “GROOVY DAY” comes along. Damnit.

Just because I was BORN in the 1970s doesn’t mean I own shit from that decade.

Thus begins the 7 a.m. full-blown-temper tantrums from two different children. One on the top bunk. The other on the bottom.

“I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR! WHY DON’T I OWN ANYTHING GROOVY?”

Um, because it’s 2016, not 1976.

We fought about pants, shirts and accessories.

“Here, wear this shirt and those jeans … I will braid your hair like your gramma used to do back in the 1970s. You’ll be fine” I said to my daughter as she sat in her bed with her head down, contemplating whether or not she’d be the laughing stock of first grade.

Finally, she agreed. She left wearing a multi-colored shirt and black pants. At the advice of another mom suffering through the same morning bullshit, I added a peace sign on her face. We didn’t have time to dig out the paints. I used lip-liner. It will probably be there for another 20 years.

As for my son, I dug around the clothes until I found a kinda-sorta tye-dyed shirt he made with handprints in kindergarten. He refused the lip-liner-drawn peace sign.

They got on the bus.

PEACE OUT!

I get it. Sorta. Dressing up somehow builds school moral or some other bullshit.

But you know what …

As a student, we NEVER had random dress-up days. We had ONE day per year we were able to pretend we were someone else. It was called HALLOWEEN.

But guess what, students are no longer allowed to dress up for Halloween. It’s against some lame-ass education regulation.

“Some people don’t believe in Halloween.”

No shit.

But ya know what I don’t believe in … searching all over my fucking house looking for “groovy” or “character” clothing.

So, the next time my phone chimes, papers fall and notifications blow up my social media page telling me about a “dress-up” day, I’m gonna pretend it never happened – kinda like what the education system did with Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A ‘trip’ on ‘vacation’ — assho!es a-plenty

cancun

Sometimes, as adults, there is a need to escape the everyday norm. It could be a long-weekend spent together while the kiddos visit the grandparents. Or, it can be a vacation – away from it all.

A friend of ours phrased it well, even though you may disagree. He said, “A vacation is MINUS the kids, a TRIP is with the kids.”

Either way, we left Ohio and our beloved children for six days and flew to Cancun, Mexico.

Even the drive on the way to the airport was pure bliss. Thirty-minutes of adult conversation. We never heard “I’m bored” or “She’s touching me!” being screamed from the backseat every 10 seconds.

So, there we were … in Cancun, staying at an all-inclusive resort. Adult beverages, nightlife and the most scrumptious meals on the planet Earth were at our fingertips.

Until we realized we weren’t there alone … and I’m not talking about the other ADULTS staying at the resort.

No, I am referring to the spring-breakers. College-aged students living the dream for a week in Cancun, without parents, roommates, professors or classes.

Minus manners too if you asked us.

By the final day, I wanted to wear a hand-made sign declaring, “PICK UP YOUR OWN SHIT” … My friend added: “YOUR MOMMA AIN’T HERE!”

It was classic.

Empty beer and margarita cups littered the tables situated within the pool. We removed them. It wasn’t our job, but it was gross and bothered us. Our husbands told us time and time again, “You can take ladies out of the USA, but you can’t take the moms out of them.” Or something like that.

Inside the sports bar, assholes left half-eaten cheeseburgers, nachos and hotdogs on paper plates when a trashcan was less than 20 feet away.

Where in the world did they leave their manners? Are they like this at home? Are they like this in their college dormitories or apartments?

Those were our thoughts as we walked from table to table removing the assholes’ shit they left behind.

Our vacation continued by watching the near-three fights break out amongst various nationalities, except no one from the United States was acting like an asshole. It was everyone else, shouting out phrases no one understood. My guess, they were calling everyone else assholes for different reasons.

I loved watching people call the hotel manager after someone took their poolside chairs. Now would be an ideal time to note this asshole was like 60 years old complaining. The manager told him, “You can’t save chairs.” He didn’t like that answer. The group he was arguing with kept blowing him kisses – that just pissed him off even more. It was hilarious. It was like the time my brother got in trouble for something I did and I reacted the same way, telling him to “kiss it.”

Add, “Watching Groups of People Argue Over Which Country is THE BEST” is a must on everyone’s “Bucket List.” Clearly the country that did NOT get BANNED from the alcohol at the all-inclusive resort were “better.” But not by much by our standards.

And, let’s not forget the group of 15 guys fighting with five other guys and three girls over the style of music being played over a loudspeaker. Our friends nailed the reason for the fight – the five guys were close to “Closing the deal with the three girls and taking them up to bed after talking to them for five hours when the other guys came over with their bad music.” BUZZ KILL … or … well, some kind of kill.

Upon leaving the resort, I assumed our journey back to the USA would go smooth. What else could go wrong? Oh, you know, our bus driver could run 15 minutes late and then make up time by driving in the middle of the road, cutting every other vehicle off – including bicyclists and motorcyclists. By this time, hands were being laid upon a Bible brought from Ohio. Our lives flashed before our eyes.

After coming to what felt like a screeching halt in the airport parking lot, we staggered out of the bus as if we had just topped of a bottle of tequila. I kinda wish I had because it would have made the next scene “that much more hilarious.”

Again, a group of four ladies were standing in the customs line, while the rest of us were waiting to be X-rayed, poked and prodded when they picked THAT time to … you guessed it, take A SELFIE.

The man behind the ladies spoke up, told them they were basically assholes and to move along because they were holding the line up.

Long story short, Mexican security showed up, but they weren’t as intimidating as I imagined them to be at the border. They just laughed and shook their heads while moving the ladies through security. They wanted those selfie-bitches OUT of Cancun.

Good news … after we made it past customs, we all headed toward the duty-free shop and bought tequila and/or Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. That made THE VACATION all worth … THE TRIP (WITH COLLEGE-AGED KIDS).

 

 

About the author:

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She has been featured as a blogger on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference site, www.humorwriters.org and Great Moments in Parenting. She also writes, edits and manages her blog, https://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com/. She can be reached at mlinebrink@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter @train_crazy.

 

 

Elf on the Shelf — the fad lives on

IT’S BAAAACCKKKKK … The creepy-ass Elf on the Shelf.

I was really, really hoping this stupid holiday fad would have faded by now, but no, according to my Facebook feed, it’s alive, well and fucking thriving.

It’s no secret that I hate The Elf on the Shelf. It’s creepy. Maybe if it were a snowman, an angel or a snowflake, I wouldn’t have this hatred for this creature that lives on shelves, ledges, fireplace mantels and countertops all across America during the month of December.

Come on folks … I know you are out there, wanting to know where my Christmas spirit is and why I hate the Elf on the Shelf.

It’s simple really – December is already bat-shit crazy with family gatherings; decorating; wrapping; shopping; and getting ready for the 15 minutes of awesomeness on Christmas morning. BUT then some idiot had the balls to create a creepy-ass plastic (or is it plush?) toy that has to be moved every single day. Because, if parents don’t move it, something is VERY wrong with either Jasper, Red or Candycane. And, if your kids are like my kids, you will have to take your Elf on the Shelf to the nearest Santa to have it checked. Elf on the Shelf CANNOT BE SICK. There is no time for that in December.

On top of it moving from place to place, it must find itself in some sort of shenanigan – like dumping flour on the kitchen countertop to make an angel. Or, hang from a chandelier. Or, my favorite … leaving a trail of poop on the kitchen table (YES, I know it’s just chocolate kisses …).

Who in the hell has time to move the elf; conjure up ways to make it misbehave (because my kids do that on their own); and then, clean up the mess created by the plastic toy with two creepy-ass eyes that never-ever move?

For all of you out there who have bought into the Elf on The Shelf fad – you are all my heroes. (Although, you did spend almost $30 on a stupid toy …)

That’s it. That’s all I got right now …

Because I have to go move my own version of “Elf on the Shelf” – a snowman that I purchased for a mere $1 that the twins call … wait for it … SNOWFLAKE.

And sadly, this snowman moves around the house too … dumping toys, playing in the Christmas tree and in other words, causing my life to be a living hell during what is supposed to be the merriest season of the year. 

Is it January yet? I’m ready for New Year’s Resolutions.