The cell phone alarm chimed at 6 a.m. I can never seem to locate my cell phone at 6 a.m. It’s like at some point during the night, the phone fairy comes into my room and moves it – like a chess pawn.

Finally, I find the source of my annoyance and slapped it, “SNOOZE.”

Ah, 8 more minutes of blissful sleep. Wonderful.

But then 6:08 a.m. rolled around. It was time to wake the sleeping bear.

There once was a time when I could not wait to wake up my pre-teen son for all of the hell he put me through as a newborn, toddler and preschooler. The countless hours of wakefulness during the middle of the night. The days of him deciding he was simply done with naps. The nights when he just wasn’t tired and insisted on staying up, “Just five more minutes, PLEASE!?”

Walking him back to his room, I would chant over and over again: “I can’t wait until the day I have to wake you up for school!”

Yet, I had no idea of the fury unleashed from a 12-year-old boy in the early morning hours. Covers are loudly dumped onto his floor. Closet doors slide along their tracks, banging into each other in the middle after he selects his wardrobe of the day.

He then drags his size 10 feet along our hardwood hallway to the bathroom where every single morning, he tries to close the door at least four times.


I roll out of bed and in a hushed, yet firm tone tell him, “NO ONE ELSE IS AWAKE! THE DOOR DOESN’T CLOSE! STOP TRYING TO CLOSE THE DOOR!”

The time is now 6:18 a.m. I hope and pray to the Sleep God that I can get an extra 14 minutes of sleep before I have to force myself to get up and start packing the dreadful lunches no one eats in my family.

But no.

The bathroom vent switch is flipped and I hear a constant hummmm. The shower curtain hooks move along the rod like fingernails on a chalkboard and my ears begin to bleed. And finally, the shower begins to flow.

It’s now 6:22 a.m. I give up. I wanted extra sleep today. I NEEDED extra sleep today (because I stayed up until midnight watching “Beetlejuice” on the free movie channel …).

So, I give my husband a nudge, begging him, “Please, get up. You don’t have to pack him a lunch today. It’s pizza day. He’s buying. You just have to make sure he gets on the bus.”

He agrees, but tells me he will get up at 6:45 a.m. – plenty of time, he says to get the pre-teen on the bus.

I don’t know what the hell happened between 6:45 and 6:55 a.m., but the child missed the bus.

“YOU HAD ONE JOB!” I yelled. “ONE!”

“He was sitting in the chair playing with his phone. I saw the bus from our kitchen window. She stopped,” he replied.

Well, no kidding she stopped … she has to STOP!

“Her job is to stop at the end of our driveway. YOUR job, today, was to make sure he was at the end of the driveway!” I said to no one but to the pillow under my head.

“I don’t know why DAD is blaming me,” the boy yelled as he thumped back into my still dark, cozy room.

“It’s your fault you weren’t ready!” my husband yelled from the bathroom.

Finally, I rolled out of bed.

It was pointless for me to lay there while they were throwing themselves under the bus.

About the author:

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She also writes, edits and manages her blog, https://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com/. She can be reached at mlinebrink@yahoo.com.


An open letter to the graduating seniors

Many of you were born in 1996 – the same year I graduated from high school. Chances are, I was old enough to be babysitting you and your siblings at one point in time.

In 1996, the world was a clean slate for me just like 2014 and beyond will be for your and your peers.

As a reporter, I have covered my fair share of graduation speeches from valedictorians and salutatorians alike.

Many of these high-honor roll students spent days, if not weeks, preparing a speech that none of you are going to care to listen to – trust me, I have been there and done that. All you want is for your name to be called so you can shake some school administrator’s hand, grab your diploma and declare “I AM DONE!”

But, trust me, you are nowhere near being DONE. You are not done until the day you die, and life is too short.

Here are a few lessons I have learned since 1996 (and remember, you folks were still wearing diapers!)

  1. If you are lucky, you will remain friends with a few classmates from school, just don’t expect everyone that signed your yearbook to call, email or text you every day. It won’t happen. But, also, many of them will fall off the grid – maybe even you. Falling off the grid is OK … make something of yourself.
  2. Do something great each day. This doesn’t mean do something FUN, but something great. Make someone else smile. Lend a caring shoulder/ear. Help an elderly person carry his/her groceries to the car while you carry your 12-pack of beer in the other arm.
  3. Don’t be afraid to succeed – too many times we are told to not be afraid to fail. Be proud of what you become in life. Push yourself to the limits. No one can hold you back except for YOU.
  4. Take your time. Don’t wish for the next five or 10 years to fly by. Because honestly, they do.
  5. Unplug. Leave behind your cell phones and iPod and enjoy the world around you. Chances are, life is more exciting than what you are reading on a teeny-tiny screen anyways. No one is ever going to say, “Man, I wish I looked on my phone more often!” on their deathbed. No, you are going to wish you saw the clouds, sky, grass, flowers and people around you. Engage in live conversations with people. Don’t hide behind a computer.
  6. Keep in touch with your parents. You may be itching to “leave the nest” but the nest they created for you will always be there. Let them know how your classes are going – even if they are tough and mind boggling. Let them know if you like your job. Just because you have graduated from high school doesn’t mean they have graduated from being your parents. They still love you and want to hear about your life.
  7. LOVE.
  8. LIVE.



Donation fund set up for prom years 2021 and 2026

Prom 1996The year was 1996 and the hit song “Angel Eyes” by Jeff Healey won the theme for Prom 1996.
I am just glad it wasn’t something like “Under the Sea.”
But anyways, Seth and I had only been dating for about four months when THE senior moment was about to take place – PROM.
The first time I went to prom, I was a junior. I decided a week before the event to go with my friends and well, I blew off work too. (Note to all seniors going to prom NOW – ask for the day and day after OFF from work because there is a chance that your BOSS may actually be at the prom, such as the case was with me back in 1995 and then I was “written up” for lying. How they actually knew I didn’t have a cold, I will never knew, but whatever – that was my “bad girl” moment in 1995.) Anyways, that year, I wore a white dress that reminded me more of a First Communion gown than a formal prom dress. That’s probably why I was never asked too – lame dress.
OK, flash forward a year – a I had a date and a hot fitted slinky black dress that I LOVED. I mean, LOVED. I think I loved this dress more than my wedding dress. The dress was under $100 – I know this because that was my spending limit – yes, folks, it’s called a BUDGET.
But, now, let’s move ahead to the year 2013. I recently read an article that stated today’s “average prom” is running parents $1,139.
I don’t think our prom committee budget for our entire senior class was $1,139.
Can you imagine? That is more than my wedding dress!
But then the “sources” began explaining WHY prom is costing an arm (tanned) and leg (also tanned) … you have THE DRESS; the pre-prom hair try-out; pre-prom makeup; day-of-the-prom makeup; the day-of-prom hair; mani/pedi; visits to a tanning bed; tickets; tux; dinner; and limo (hahahaha, right!)
I have no idea how much it actually cost to attend prom in 1996; but I know damn well it did not cost $1,139.
Today’s prom trends are going to send me into a tizzy eight (for Ethan) and 13 years (twins – maybe KK and Derek can just go together their senior year?) from now.
Therefore, I have started a “SEND THE LINEBRINK KIDS TO PROM” FUND. If you’d like to donate, I accept cash, coins and checks. I promise, I will send you a photo of the kids with their dates that you helped fund.

RETIREMENT — Welcome, Barb

Mrs. Barb Naymik
Circa 1990 — St. Mary’s School Secretary

Another turning point a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why
“Good Riddance” by Green Day

I am dedicating this verse from Green Day’s “Good Riddance” to my mom.

You see, this week marks the final week she will be spending in the “work force.”

As of Wed., Oct. 31, she will no longer have to set her alarm to get up (on Thursday).

She will no longer have to rush out the door. She can, as she likes to put it, “lounge” around.

If she doesn’t want to put make-up on or do her hair, she won’t.

Come Nov. 1, 2012, she will be joining thousands of others across this country in … RETIREMENT.

Since she was 16 years old, she has worked Monday thru Friday.

She has worked for the Lorain County Court House; Bowling Green State University; Community Action; Dinner Bell; and finally, for the past 26.5 years, she saw countless faces of school children as the secretary of St. Mary’s Catholic School (now combined with another Catholic school in Defiance, Ohio, called Holy Cross.).

And in her tenure as a school secretary, she has literally seen and heard it all.

But, this isn’t what my blog is about today.

Rather, it’s about my mom.

Ever since I can remember, she has been helping others in some-sort of capacity as a secretary.

She has calmed down nervous parents; taken care of sick children; bandaged scrapped knees; typed thousands of newsletters and other documents; stood by the printer for hundreds of hours; and of course, answering the telephone in a cheerful voice.

“St. Mary’s Catholic School, Barb speaking …”

“Holy Cross Catholic School, this is Barb, how can I help you …”

Despite what may have been going on in her personal life (say, like a mouthy teenager at home), I never heard or saw my mom take it out on others (perhaps my dad will disagree?).

Before my parents were married, she lived with her parents in Lorain, Ohio where she had to pay “room and board.” It wasn’t much, but my grandparents taught her an important life lesson. Not everything is handed to you for free. You have to work hard. In fact, the money she earned from her first job after high school, before my dad proposed, was put into a savings account that she later put toward their first bedroom set.

My brother and I are products of babysitters. And there were several. Some were good, some were not so good, but we survived it all. My dad was a teacher and always had to be at school by 7:15 a.m., which meant it was up to my mom to get my brother and me ready for the sitters before she went to work. (The plus side was seeing our parents during the summer, minus the sitters.)

Then, when I was 8 years old, she was hired as the school secretary. I was happy because I no longer had to ride the bus to and from school – I lived with my transportation.

But more than that, I saw how hard she worked each and every day to make sure my brother and I had a decent life. We weren’t rich in cash, but rich in what we learned from our parents – hard work, a strong worth ethic and determination can take a person far in their lives.

I am not sure what she is going to do in her “new life.” She tells her friends and co-workers that she just wants to spend more time with her grandchildren and children (my brother is a teacher in Florida).

Basically, she wants to enjoy life – wake up when she feels “fresh;” read books late into the night; visit her mom in Lorain more often; visit her sister in Elyria more often; and spend time with her family.

For the past 26.5 years, she has been a member of the Catholic School family and anyone who has ever had to associate with my mom, I am certain they agree that her replacement has big shoes to fill.

I am just happy that I was able to “share” my mom with Catholic community of Defiance, Ohio.