An infectious smile, and stunning hair


“And with a broken wing, she still sings
She keeps an eye on the sky
With a broken wing, she carries her dreams
Man, you ought to see her fly”

– Martina McBride, “With a Broken Wing”

The infectious smile was the first thing I noticed about her.

And then, then it was her stunning hair.

But her life was more than her smile and hair.

She was a devoted mother, sister, niece, friend and employee.

Everyone loved her. And she loved them.

The last time I saw her was at a Jennifer Nettles concert at Lorain County Community College. She wore a vibrant pink dress, pink lipstick and white hair spiked up an inch high.

Never in a million years could I pull off that trendy/hip look. She OWNED IT!

Like a lot of people in our small community, our paths crossed mostly through Facebook or at local functions/sporting events.

Every day, she posted a new selfie on Facebook. She was the Queen of Selfies. But not in a vain way. She just wanted to give everyone a smile. It was her way of giving the world a gift. My personal favorites were of standing next to a country singer. Oh, how she loved her country music singers!

And her gift of going out of her way to help others in need. She would take a moment out of her busy day to help others by listening to their concerns, offering advice and just letting them know she would be there for them.

One time, after volunteering to help a local family in need by way of a benefit, she told me: “I wanted to help but wasn’t sure how. Apparently a couple other people felt the same way. I didn’t hesitate for a single second to offer my help in any way that I possibly could!”

And that was Jessica. In a nutshell.

Now the world is left without her smile. We will never see her vibrant hair – whatever color she wanted it to be – because she left Earth far too early. No one knows why. No one will ever understand the reason.

So, to you Jessica, may you Rest in Heaven. For those of us who knew her, I pray we will come together as a community and never let her kiddos forget the woman who smiled to all of us every day.



Motherhood is.

We are everywhere.

We can be found at school functions, in grocery stores and churches. We are at swimming pools, the beach and ball parks during the summer.

No place is safe. No one is safe.

Moms are starting to lose it, and other moms are starting to take notice.

A crying 9-year-old here; a smart-mouth teen there.

A 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum on the floor while hurling a sippy cup 15-feet across the room. A pre-school-aged child lagging behind you at Wal-Mart, waiting to see how long it takes you to turn around, demanding their presence at your side.

At the heart of every chaotic scene is a mom who wants nothing more than to crumble at her feet and assume the fetal position. But she can’t. She has to take control of every situation and try to either improve it or end the behavior that started it in the first place.

Nearly every day, I feel like I am walking around my house with a large, “WARNING: CRAZED MOTHER” sign dangling around my neck.

All I am asking of my 14-year-old and 8-year-old twins is to make their beds, clean up their rooms, get dressed and brush their teeth. There may be an occasional “empty the dishwasher” or “feed the cat” notice. I am not asking them to move a mountain. But they certainly act like I am. So, when they fail to “do their summer chores” and I start screaming through the house, they act like they either A. don’t hear me or B. can’t see me.

The slogan in BFE this summer is “There is no summer fun until the chores are done.”

Right now, my daughter is sprawled out on the floor, begging me to open the pool. I still have two baskets of laundry to fold and put away. I asked her earlier, when she declared for the 100th time today that she was bored, if she wanted to fold the clothes on my bed. She turned and went back to her room to craft accessories for her non-American Girl Doll.

“I’m still bored!” I heard her yell through the door.

Meanwhile, my 14-year-old who missed lunch two hours ago is telling me there is nothing to eat in a house with a stocked pantry and refrigerator.

“Mom, we don’t have anything. I want like buttermilk pancakes, um, or pizza rolls, a burger, that’s it, oh stuffed French Toast too,” he is telling me wearing only a pair of summer shorts because getting dressed isn’t on his “to-do” list until apparently this evening.

So, in a nutshell, my kids are bored and starving – and we’ve only been on summer break less than three weeks.


Introducing 2016 Ohio SPJ award-winning blogger Melissa Linebrink. Melissa is a creative, witty blogger who doesn’t sugarcoat the hardships of everyday parenting. Follow her on Facebook at




Am I selling myself short?


Am I selling myself short?

I am looking to branch out my blogging self.

The kicker is, I need a THING to write about. Or a BRAND. Or a PRODUCT.

I can’t write about being a MOM anymore because that ship has sailed on the Scary Mommy Yacht, Huffington Post Parents Sailboat and every other parenting blog known to the blogsphere.

I thought, well maybe I could write about being a mom to a teenager. After all, I do have one of those living in my basement at the moment. But, since he rarely talks to me, he doesn’t give me enough material to write a daily blog about his life. No cash there.

Oh, and then TWINS. Thought maybe I’d struck gold with that BOGO that took place nearly nine years ago. But here’s the thing, no one cares. No one cares that I had twins. Now, they did care when I was PREGNANT with them. I was the talk of the town, mall and OB facility.

“What are you having?” – them.

“A boy … and a girl …” – me as they looked at me, their mouth wide open and eyes as big as the moon.

“Really? Oh how fun! – them.

“Super …” – me, thinking to myself, “I pee every 15 minutes, my entire body hurts and I have a map of the world on my stomach from stretch lines. Do you need to know how to get to New York? Here, let me look …”

BUT NOW, now that they are almost 9 years old, that novelty has worn off. No one even asks me, “Are they twins?” anymore. It’s a bummer really. I shoulda blogged then, but … that wasn’t a thing and I was too tired.

So, then what am I left with? My marriage.

Do people really want to know how we live our lives in the mid-west?

Do people really care that the other night, I was walking around my 2-acre property, in the pouring down rain, looking for the shed key that I APPRENTLY lost while my husband stayed inside, my guess is watching me run around like a duck all the while the key was behind the microwave? I only went out in the storm because I thought he was gonna’ divorce me for losing the ONLY shed key that we own. Stupid Melissa.

Do people really care that we text each other about the most mundane daily events … like when he forgot to uncover the OLD CAT’S SHITTER and then the OLD CAT TOOK A SHIT NEXT TO THE BOX ON THE GARAGE FLOOR because we have to COVER THE OLD CAT’S SHITTER because he HATES IT WHEN THE KITTENS USE HIS SHITTER AS THEIR SHITTER. I too have forgotten to open Jerry’s SHITTER at night to find a pile of shit and a blob of piss on the garage floor. I’d prefer the days when he actually left us rodents by the front door.

And, do people really care that when we are driving on the highway, he feels it is the perfect time to lecture me about pool usage in the summer as if I am his teenage daughter, rather than his 39-year-old wife of nearly 17 years. “If I come home from work and the backyard is a mess …” … Seriously, I think we can all GUESS what I told him as he began THAT sentence.

Hmmmmmmm … maybe I outta change my blog page to simply “MELISSA’S FOLLIES” and leave it at that. It’s not super witty, but maybe I will become a household name among parents …

“Did you read Melissa’s Follies yet today? Her kids are on spring break … and she’s at her breaking point. Today, she tried to scare birds away from their nests as they chirped at her and nearly pecked her eyes out! She’s a hot mess that Melissa!”



Life – Could there be something more?

Do you ever ask yourself – what’s it all mean?

Could there really be something more?

Maybe not necessarily referring to the way we live our lives, but rather the choices we make that mold us into the people we are today.

For about three months, my blog has remained untouched. Sure, I still get the daily notices that someone has “enrolled” onto my blog page, other times I get Twitter notifications that someone has agreed to follow me. And, then my Facebook page has gradually been receiving more and more views, and a few more “likes” here and there.

But those are just numbers adding up to virtually nothing.

For me, blogging has been my way of venting. Yet while I consider it “venting” others call it bitching. Either way, they are my words based on the way I am feeling as a woman, wife and mother at any given moment in my life.

One aspect of life my followers know is that I am bold and do not bow down to adversity.

But at what point does that translate into “she doesn’t like being a mom” or “she doesn’t love her kids.”

It doesn’t. It never has.

Not every day is full of rainbows and unicorns. Not every day is wonderful.

But I am blessed that I get to live every day.

I have been trolling sites for blog jobs, but more and more often, those sites are aiming to hire bloggers with a passion for something.

Well, I hate cooking – so those gigs are out.

I craft, but it’s not my passion to explore every faucet of Pinterest in the hopes of creating something more amazing than the hand-painted wine bottles decorating various parts of my house. (If you want one, by the way, let me know – I have six currently sitting on shelves collecting dust.)

I do, however, enjoy gardening and planting flowers. Do people really want to know what I plant in my garden year after year? Do people really want to know that for the life of me, the soil in my garden produces rotten tomatoes every single year since I began gardening in 2007?

Maybe they do; maybe they don’t.

Yet the reason why I blog isn’t too tell others how to live their life, or to even complain about my own life.

The reason I blog is to let other parents around the world know they are not alone.

Parents in Oregon are dealing with the same teenage drama that storms through my house at 4:35 p.m. every day.

Parents in England are dealing with preparing meals that their second-graders deem “poison” as they dissect every single piece of food that touches their plate.

Mothers are overworked. Fathers are underappreciated. And somewhere in the mix, are trying to find the reason they fell in love and got married in the first place in between carting their children to every single extra-curricular activity known to mankind.

That is why I blog.

I guess I just needed to remind myself why too.







Class reunion – a time to celebrate

The anticipation was killing me.

I had waited 13 years for this moment.

And it was finally here.

Muggy, humid, misty weather and all.

I stood in front of the mirror of my vanity in the room that I claimed “mine” nearly seven years earlier.

In front of me – the girl with shoulder length hair was gone. Gone was the girl who hadn’t hit puberty yet. Gone was the girl who wasn’t sure of her future.

Instead, a young woman stood there looking back at me. She had (bad) short hair and wire-rimmed glasses. Around her, she wore a navy blue robe and with a yellow cord. And in less than three months, she would be a freshman at Bowling Green State University majoring in criminal justice (Yes, that clearly did not happen).

As she carefully placed her cap on her hat, she prayed to the Hair God to let her hair look decent for the next three hours. But in the end, the weather made her head look like a wet mop.

But she didn’t care.

All the persistence and dedication paid off …


And next weekend is my 20th class reunion.

It’s no secret that in the spring I was slightly dreading this moment.

Did I really want to see the person who sat next to me in English?

Did I really want to hear old stories of “glory days?”

Did I really care what everyone is doing now as we approach our 40s?

Does it even matter?

The truth is … Yes.

No one had a perfect life in high school. And no one has a perfect life now.

Yet we all come from different walks of life. And that is what makes 20 years a perfect time to reflect.

Some people have said they want to forget their past and that attending a reunion just rehashes nasty memories of their childhood.

Some people have said that they didn’t form any bonds with those in high school at the time, so why should they attempt form bonds with these people now.

And that was me.

I was that girl.

My goodness, my dad was a junior high math teacher. There were days I wanted to find a new family because I was forever, “Mr. Naymik’s DAUGHTER.” I am pretty sure that identifier alone scared away 180 of the 200 classmates from 1996.

But now that we are T-minus 8 days away from the reunion, I am looking forward to it.

We owe it to ourselves to see how far we have come in the past 20 years.

It’s time to let bygones simply be that – bygones.

And I know it’s hard to do – trust me, I know.

But just last Friday, I saw hundreds of balloons being released for a 48-year-old Ohio State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty in Cuyahoga County. He was three days away from retirement. Today, hundreds of law enforcement vehicles lined a local road in his honor.

What Trooper Velez would have given for one more day …

One more day to keep our roads and cities safe.

One more day to spend with his children.

One more day to hang out with his friends at a local sports pub watching the Browns (lose).

One more day.

The people we were 20 years ago are gone.

And one day, we too will be wishing we had … one more day.


Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at




A breast cancer warrior with a heart of gold

Sometimes, life’s a bitch.

But, sometimes, a person comes along who encompasses an attitude of “Screw it, I’m gonna life my life to the fullest!”

She saw the glass as half-full – always craving the next taste of life.

She hated bees.

She argued with her parents and siblings, but made up soon after.

She didn’t hold grudges. Life was too short for such nonsense.

She loved her family.

She loved her husband.

But, most of all, she loved being a mom. It’s all she ever wanted in life.

So, when she felt a lump in her breast during her third-trimester of pregnancy, she knew she would do anything in her power to rid her body of the cancerous lump.

Funny thing though, her doctor’s weren’t overly concerned with the lump. And at one point, she herself even thought it would dissipate after giving birth to her son, Frankie.

But it didn’t.

The diagnosis came back as breast cancer.

And, not just the “typical” breast cancer that some women have. Nope, she was diagnosed with the “Head Bitch of the Disease.” She tested positive for an abnormal BRCA1 gene. Abnormal BRCA1 is a harmful gene mutation that increases the risk for a woman getting breast and/or ovarian cancers. It is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

She didn’t even blink an eye when telling the doctor of her course of treatment.

She wanted her breasts removed … and since BRCA1 thrives on estrogen, her other female reproductive organs were removed from her body too.

She was barren.

She was crushed. She wanted three kiddos. But, she was OK with just having Frankie if it meant she could be his entire world.

And she was.

She was his entire world for 19 months.

Jenny Metzer-Bassett died on April 24. She was only 31 years old.

She didn’t want a timeline for her life on Earth. Ultimately she knew her fate.

But for 19 months, she did what she set out to do. She was a warrior. She was the bitch that beat cancer – maybe not in the sense that you think – but she did. She didn’t let the diagnosis get the best of her. She lived her life.

We can all learn from Jenny …

When faced with adversary and bad news – forge forward with a positive attitude and screw the rest.







A farewell to the first family pet

Just as the sunrise was peaking this morning we said good-bye to our first family pet – Tom, our cat.

When we moved to BFE in the fall of 2006, we had a rodent problem in our garage. But soon, winter arrived and the nasty rodents hibernated … until spring 2007.

“We need to get a cat,” I remember telling Seth.

I’ve never been a cat person. I had only one dog growing up – a Golden Retriever named Jake.

Cats scared me; and they knew it. One time, as a teenager, I spent the night at my girlfriend’s house and her cat slept on my head. And then, a couple of years ago, I spent the night at another friend’s house and her cat also thought my head was its bed.

I’m not drawn to cats. They are drawn to me.

Clearly, I was a “cat person” without knowing it.

When we brought the two cats home, our only child at the time picked their names – Tom and Jerry, after his favorite cartoon characters.

As the years passed by, we realized Tom was really a dog in a cat’s body. Everywhere we went, he was there; and he was an outdoor cat.

Walks in the “Back 40” became our nightly activity. He would collapse at my feet, expecting a rub; and I obliged. I would sit on our picnic table under the apple tree and he climbed up. I would sit and watch the kids ride their bikes on our two-seated bench and he would jump up and literally sit on my legs.

When Seth pulled his truck in the garage, Tom jumped on the hood. The daily game was on – Seth covered the hood with an old blanket and Tom would hide underneath until Seth tapped his fingers, calling him out. Then, Seth would give him treats.

The first time Tom “met” the twins, I threw him – but that’s because he jumped inside the stroller carrying the twins and began sniffing. I freaked out; but looking back, I know he was just getting to know the new family members.

He was our protector. He would sit in the garage or pavement, just watching the kids. Sure, he was the occasional bird and rodent hunter, but for the most part, he was a domestic cat who adored his family.

And that’s what we were to him – his family. He is still part of our family. He is buried underneath the white birch tree in our backyard – in a part of the yard he loved to roam.

In the next few months, we agree to bring two more cats into our home.

And, I was the one who suggested this idea. The woman who never called herself a “cat person” now has a heart for cats.

RIP Tom-Tom.