Crying “Uncle!”

According to Wikipedia: The Roman Empire theory says, Roman children, when beset by a bully, would be forced to say the Latin phrase, “Patrue, mi Patruissimo,” or, “Uncle, my best Uncle,” in order to surrender and be freed.

Common, Kid, just do what I do, and you’ll be fine.

I’ve learned over these single parenting years, especially, not to be ashamed when I hit a brick wall.  I mean, everyone hits them…that place where, left to our own devices, no clear path presents itself.  I usually have to hit the same wall a few times, no, maybe several times, befor I cry “Uncle!”

“Patrue, mi Patruissimo!”

As my daughter approaches her teen years, I find myself continually perplexed by my parenting inconsistencies.  One minute things are fabulous, and I’m sledding smoothly down the hills of Mt. Pinos, the next minute Mt. Everest shows up, and I lack any sort of mountain climbing skills.  Yesterday I was singing “Riser” by Derks Bentley, and today I’m a Yahoo News headline: Single mom drowns in a sea of tween drama.

I can be calm, cool, and collected, and in ten seconds switch to screaming, ranting Mommy Dearest.

All it takes is one trigger, one button push, one hot spot (and I don’t mean AT & T).

Whoa, Nelly, I didn’t ask for this!

I’ve also learned through various trials that, typically, it’s what I’m doing that is the biggest part of the problem. I whole-heartedly believe in looking in the mirror. No, I’m not taking full blame for every attitudinal tantrum or smart remark made by my pre-teen, but I am willingly admitting that when I step outside myself and take a deep breath, I usually mitigate the situation.

I’m the adult. I’m the one who’s lived the life, been a kid, been an adolescent, teenager, 20-something, etc, etc, etc.  I have the experiences of decades to remind me of the turmoil and trials that pervade these developing years.  Sure, I can tout, “Well, that’s just the way it is.  We’ll get through it.   We all survive and turn out okay.”  Fairly true, but as y’all probably know by now, that’s not my style.

Case in point…with horses in training, the more you force them to do something they don’t want to do, the more they plain and simple will not do it.  Sound familiar?  See any correlation?  On the contrary…as soon as a horse believes that what you’d like him to do is actually his idea in the first place, it happens.  Sure, it might take more than one try, one baby step at a time (usually it does), but it does indeed happen and in a much nicer fashion than, “I said do this!  Do it now, dag-gummit!”

Now you’re gettin’ it.  Good job!

Not that my daughter should be compared to a horse (although, I don’t think she’d mind, knowing how much she loves them), but I am at a place where I’m asking myself, “What on earth am I thinking?  Why am I acting like this?  What can I do to change myself and to help us both along?”

I’ve been so frustrated trying to make my kid do what I want her to do (basically, I want her to do things just like me, duh), with ZERO REWARD, instead of looking for a different path.  Brick walls abound, and I am humbled by the ever-present realization that my way is not the only way or the necessary way, and her way may be different but equally worthy and sufficient for success.

So, I am embarking on some parenting research to help me cope with my own insecurities and fear and to help guide me through these unchartered waters.

A friend of mine posted a quote on Facebook today by Ian Leighton, a renowned horse trainer, which says this:

I wonder what it is about some people that find unpleasantness rewarding.
I can’t think of an animal that thinks that way.

I do not find unpleasantness rewarding, and I know that my kiddo doesn’t either.  I will not settle for things “just being” because of her age and my inexperience as a pre-teen parent.

I ordered book on Amazon called Wise Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens by Laura S. Kastner.  Her parenting techniques go along with the “Mindfulness” movement.  I reviewed the book and scanned the intro, and it completely hit home.  When I read the following statistic, As of 2010 more than nine million families with children under the age of eighteen were being maintained by single mothers, I knew this person had done her research and was going to address things from a real world perspective-not a glorified, shiny, “quick fix” perspective.  Not only will I have the book for reference, but there is an online community to reach out to for support through the author’s website, entitled the same.

We will see how it goes, but one thing is for sure, I already feel hopeful by taking this step.  And, I have faith that while there will be ups and downs, they will certainly be better than hitting brick walls.

Mom may not always get it right, but she’ll always love you.

Have any of you had to cry “Uncle!” with your kids?  If so, what measures did you take at that point to encourage positive change?  Please share!

Life is short…too short not to chuckle about the journey, so c’mon, give it a try. Oh, and thanks, Google, for the awesome photos!








For me and for her

It is a fact that hurtful words and actions can have a lasting impact on a person just as much, if not more so, than empowering words and behavior.  If this weren’t the case, I don’t think the campaign against bullying would be at the forefront of media attention and such a focus across school campuses today.

Honestly, my gut (and not a 10-year study) tells me that very few of us grew up evading even small amounts of persecution in some form or another, sneaking through high school hallways without mean looks or derogatory comments.  A greater majority of us dealt with a lot of negativity, even abuse, when truths be told.

And, as women, we grew up under additional pressures, if I may be so bold as to say, that included fitting within certain molds for body, hair, and face type, style, behavior, career paths, and more.  We learned to scrutinize over fitting in and becoming what was expected from our families, our friends, society, and certainly, the opposite sex.

When I decided to divorce, I explained to my ex how un-attractive I felt, and I questioned him as to why he never seemed to want to be with me any more (physically).  His response I have never forgotten, and I think, moreover, I have never quite gotten past to a degree: “Maybe if you hadn’t cut your hair.”

Yep.  That simple (not).  Cutting my hair made me unattractive to my spouse. Cutting my hair because I had a baby in tow that awakened numerous times in the night day after day, and I was too tired to deal with fashion faux-paux’s, lessened his libido. His baby, too, mind you! Ya, well, I know that it wasn’t my hair that was the problem.  But, nonetheless, the comment has stuck with me for over seven years.

Until now.  No more sticking.  Little by little these negative pieces are being tossed and replaced by new positive pieces. With my daughter’s telescope in full view of my choices, I’ve made many changes in how I do things since that conversation.  And a couple of days ago, I added one more change…

I’m here to tell you today, that I WANT MY HAIR CUT OFF!
Hello, Happy Me!

With every step I take, or every haircut I get, I do so knowing that my own empowerment gives power to my daughter.

There are NO MOLDS to fill that aren’t meant to be broken.  Make the positive overshadow the negative, and a whole world of possibility stands ready.

Life is short, so lop of any unwanted locks, break the mold, and while you’re sweeping away the pieces, give a chuckle!



So Much, So Fast

Hmmmmmmm, how interesting! I clicked on the suspicious pencil-looking icon at the top of my WordPress Reader site and vwala!  There appeared the “new editor” allowing me to type a post that I had no idea I was going to write….until this very moment.  And, honestly, I have a lot on my mind.  A LOT. But, sometimes with so much brewing it is difficult to narrow the writing down to what is burning the most on my heart to get out, to purge or to share.

The thing is, that clicking on this new icon to which I had no idea what it was simply allowed me to narrow it down that much easier.  It’s about change.  It is super easy to write about CHANGE.  At least, I think it is because it is the ONE THING we can always count on-the ONE THING that is always taking place with or without us.

This year Maycee entered the 5th grade.  She is an upper-classman in elementary school now-more-so than as a 4th grader.  She is one step away from being top dog.  One step closer to ruling the entire roost.  She has embraced this role fully, and along with it, she has embraced so much change within herself.

Up until this year I have been the doer of almost all things for her.  I cleaned her room, washed and put away her clothes, made her meals, packed her lunches, woke her up with the sound of my voice and a light nudging or tickling of limbs, checked her homework for completion, helped with any challenges.  All of that typical parenting/mom stuff we do for our kids.

Up until this year I was still the “cool mom” who all of my daughter’s friends thought was “pretty and nice”.  I held my daughter’s hand while walking across campus after picking her up. I dried her tears if other kids were mean to her and had discussions with her teachers or counselors to make sure any issues were handled and quickly.  I was desired at all functions and for sitting down and watching Disney Channel together.

This 5th grade thing has brought into our lives something I wasn’t quite ready for: INDEPENDENCE.

Ha!  Just like that Maycee is saying comments like, “Mom, pleeeeeeeezzzz don’t do that.  You’re embarrassing me!”  So what if I’m dancing around like a crazy woman in delight over the taste of some delicious cafe mocha yogurt at Yogurt Creations in front of a whole bunch of folks, not to mention Maycee’s BFF?  Whaaaaat is so embarrassing about that?!

“I’m going to clean up my room after dinner tonight.  I need to start keeping it neat.  I’m done with Barbies.” OK, who are you, and where did you place my child?

“Mom, I’m going to start bringing my own purse with me everywhere I go.” AKA, I don’t need you to hold MY MONEY.

“Mom, can I ride my bike to school ALONE?” That’s what I’m talking about.  Say what?! No!

“Mom, can I get Lunchables to make my own lunch?  ALLLLL the kids are eating those now.” Why certainly-let me hand over my lunch-making torch from the last 7 years gladly.

Teacher to Mom during recent Parent/Teacher conference: “Ms. MacInnes, I’d let Maycee start making her own decisions about when she finishes her homework.  She knows the consequences if she doesn’t complete it. You don’t need to help her.  Give her more responsibility.  This is the year for it, and all of MY kids know that.  Maycee tells me, ‘After all, I’m in the 5TH GRADE NOW.'”

Morning wake up?  No more.  Alarm clock to the rescue, and what a happy child it produces!  No longer do I hear, “Uuuuugh, I’m soooooo tired!  Why did YOU wake ME up so early?!?”  Nope.  She hears the beep, beep, BEEEEEEEEP and saunters out of her room on time with a smile on her face (a lazy smile, but still a smile) and even says good morning!  Well, OK. GOOD MORNING THEN!  Yahoo!

And, I won’t even get into the health education and puberty talk.  But, I will say that if there’s attitude in the room, well, poor Miss Puberty is to blame according to Maycee.  “It’s puberty, Mom.  My teacher said.  It causes all kinds of behavior stuff.”  Well, indeed, it does, I guess. Did I go through that? No wonder my mom is laughing at me on the phone.

“I need to text Fabby now, Mom.  It is VERY important.  Oh, and I know I said I loved my texting phone, and I do, but I REALLY like Fabby’s I-Phone, and I totally know how to work it.  Oh, and I would REALLY like my OWN laptop.”  Huh.  Really?  And, I would like money to grow on trees, but that’s another blog post.

Texting went from nil to 90 within the last few weeks after Maycee discovered Fabby has a phone, too.  I am currently using the phrase, “I’m going to have to take it away if you don’t put it down-now.”  Help me. Prior to this Maycee said the likes of, “I don’t even use my phone.  I forget it’s even there.  I don’t want to be one of THOSE people who texts all the time anyways.”

Change can make us forgetful, I suppose.

Drying tears?  Over and done with (for now, except if there’s a texting crisis).  “Oh, my gosh, Mom. He was so rude (speaking of a bullying sort in her homework class)!  And, I told him so, and I thought he was going to come up and shove me because he looked so mad, but I just stormed off and told the teacher!  I’m not afraid!”  Wowzers.

Hand holding-Lord knows I try.  I have to sneak my hand underneath Maycee’s and touch the fingers, which creates an automatic reflex  that quickly disappears once she realizes it’s happening.  Darn.

Disney Channel?  Replaced by Nick at Night’s re-runs of Full House and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  If I’m lucky there’s some room left on the couch for me to squeeze my mommy butt and sit with the girl.  If not, I return to my post located in the kitchen corner not to be heard.

Certainly these are all positive changes and quite exciting!  Well, a little frightening, too.  I mean, it’s just SO MUCH, SO FAST.  But, I know that one of the biggest parts of mothering is also learning to let go.  Each stage in a child’s life requires a bit of this. If we don’t do it, then independence is hindered and opportunities become more difficult to experience.  Not to mention our kids might end up never leaving the house-ever.

When Maycee turned 10 I wrote in her birthday card that I wanted her to soar, and this is what she is doing-in leaps and bounds as her 5th grade year takes shape.  I may need bigger wings to keep up, but I’ll find them, if nothing more than to watch and wonder and smile.

I’m glad I logged onto WP today and clicked on that funny little pencil that led me to this “new editor” prompting me to write about the one and only constant in life.  And, I’m glad I got to connect with you, Readers.  Remember: life is short, so if you’re feeling a little funky just blame puberty, start texting, and give a chuckle!



“Used to”

I used to clean my little 34 foot trailer-made home once a week and vacuum it every day.  I was single and had three cats, and although I loved animals I couldn’t stand the cat hair gathering on the soft patchwork comforter of my bed or entangling in the tweed fabric of my rocking chair.  It only took me a short while to vacuum such a tiny space.  As I finished I still looked on with pride, my private nook, freshly painted white cabinets and sand carpet, decorated to suit a 20-something college graduate on a tight budget.

I ran a popular gift shop in the small town of Ojai where young girls would swarm after school looking for the latest Beanie Baby or cool gag gift to play with their friends.  Sometimes we sold candy and treats, and they enjoyed those, too.  My co-worker was a tall and beautiful gal with long blonde hair.  She rode Andalusian horses and loved wearing bright red lipstick.  Her mom would come and hang out; I remember longing for their country simplicity.  I marveled at the happiness they shared of getting together with family and friends at the Deer Lodge or shooting the breeze over ice-cold lemonade on a blistering triple digit Saturday.

Life was pretty quiet then.  I moved to that town to start over, to find myself, to figure out what was next after Northern California.  Getting sober I enjoyed the birds singing in the morning along with a cup of tea as I looked out my front door-a sliding glass door-where I could see the world as I wanted it to be.  Johnny Cash’s old house towered above on the mountainside.   Wow.  To know him when.  I used to read my meditations on sobriety faithfully, prayed to the god of my meek understanding, and never watched television because I didn’t have cable.  That was okay by me.

My neighbors would fight-holler and scream profanities.  Their children rode bikes in and around the crackling black top laid between the mini-dwellings of those whose paychecks came from convenience stores, or the county, or small gift shops like mine.  On the weekend I listened to country rock radio through the fence.  Never once did I actually see who turned it on, but thank goodness the music suited my fancy.  I’d put on a tank top and have a seat in my chair on the cozy patio.  I used to bathe in the heat of the summer.

Every so often my mom would come up to stay.  The trailer was her little get away from suburban reality.  As the white Jetta pulled up I’d smile-peaking out the window in front of my kitchen sink.  Then through the gate she’d come with her overnight bag and pillow.  Once settled there was usually a sigh of relief, “I just love this little trailer!”  We’d relax, get something to eat in town for lunch, hit the antique stores, and then end the night watching a movie.  The next morning we might work in the dollhouse-sized yard laying bark and potting plants.  Two single women.  Mother and daughter.  Kindred spirits in many ways-more than we even knew back then.

I used to look forward to those visits.

Just me and my mom.

Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, to my blogging buddy moms, and to mothers everywhere who love their children beyond remembering how things “used to” be, even though it’s nice to stop and reflect once in a while.






Musings of a 4th Grader

Never a dull moment when you're a parent!
Never a dull moment when you’re a parent!


“Yes, Honey?”

“I feel sorry for Noe.  He doesn’t have a very good life.”


“Yeah.  He said that when you come pick me up from school you seem like such a fun mom.  Then he said, ‘All my mom ever does is spank me.'” (Sinking heart of mine.)

“Oh, that’s terrible!  Well,  unfortunately I think many more kids than we know have a rough home life.”

“Yeah.  And, sometimes he cusses at me and Pamela.”

“He does?”

“Yeah.  He calls us the “B” word.” (I restrain myself from looking startled at the notion.)

“Geez!  That’s no good.  Do you tell on him?”

“No.  I don’t.  I don’t take it personally because I know that he doesn’t have a good life.  He just does it to try to be cool.  It doesn’t bother me.  I just try to be nice to him.  I feel really sorry for him.”

(Smiling inside at my daughter’s compassion.)”That is a wonderful way to look at it, Maycee.  Really.  We never know what people are going through who act out against us.”


“All my friends think you are nice, Mom. And pretty.  Pamela says you look like you’re 29!”

(Twenty-nine is good.   I might have been insulted if she’s said 30. Wink.)


“I hate P.E.  It is SO unfair!  They make us run in the heat and the sun!”

“Well, no one can control the weather, Honey.  And, you have to do P.E.  It’s a necessary part of school, even though I know you don’t like it.”

“Well, it’s NOT FAIR, and I mean it!  All the teachers just yell at us to, ‘Do this!  Do That!’ and then they sit around and watch us and don’t do anything themselves!”

“When you get into high school you can get out of it.”


“You can join a sports team, or do marching band, or some other physical activity like I did.  I played on the drum line, and therefore I didn’t have to do P.E.  It was great!”

“Do they have team roping in high school?”

(And, all the cowgirl mamas in the crowd yelled, “Yeehaw! Go get ’em Maycee!)


“Wow, gas has gone down quite a bit.  Thank goodness!” (Mommy sigh.)

“How much?” (Maycee chomping on carrots and ranch dressing.)

“Well, it’s like $40 to fill up a tank.”

“Forty dollars??!!   I thought it was only 50 cents!!”

“Fifty cents a gallon?”

“NO! Fifty cents for the whole thing!”

(Oh, child.  I wish.)


“MOOOOOOM!” (Loud, obnoxious scolding cry.)


“Stop crinkling the grain bag!  Fancy almost stepped on me!”

“Sorry, Maycee, but I had to put the new grain bag in the bin.  She has to get used to hearing the sound and not thinking she’s getting fed anyways.  Oh, and by the way, we need to reduce her feed to one big scoop instead of two.”


“Because she’s got enough of a belly now.”

(I offer Fancy another carrot.)

“Then WHY are you giving her so many treats?!”

(Got me there.)


And, my all time favorite from the archives of a couple of years ago:

(Listening to Taylor Swift’s album, Red, that Maycee got for Christmas and fiddling around in her room.)

“Do you like Taylor Swift’s songs, Mommy?”

“Sure.  They’re pretty good.  Especially the one that says, “And, We are NEVER, EVER, EVER getting back together!” (The words I uttered to a previous boyfriend when he suggested we take yet another “break”.)

“Taylor Swift is just like you, Mommy!  She can’t find the right man either!”

(Ouch.  So glad that’s in the past!)


Have a wonderful weekend Readers!  Remember: Life is short, so be happy, and give a chuckle!



The Taste of Milk and Honey

Tonight I’m not drinking tea while I write. It’s late, 11:22 PM according to my laptop, and while I type from my bed I’m listening to the sound of a load of laundry. Nope, not exactly calming and peaceful, I know. Just: noise. But, next to me on the nightstand is a glass of warm milk and honey. Does anyone else out there drink this? The taste is smooth, creamy, and sweet.

Kind of funny, but a little over 4 years ago before we moved into the Yellow Submarine, we were living in a one-bedroom apartment. I had to start over with everything, and during this time I had no microwave and no coffee maker. I was also scared to death of the neighborhood this apartment resided (read all about it in posts from my early 2011 archives), and so instead of drinks with caffeine, I switched to herbal tea and drinking warm milk and honey at night before bed to help me sleep. I heated up the milk in a pan on the stove. It felt nostalgic to do so, as if I was living like Laura Ingalls, had only I milked the cow myself. It became a comfort to me that I still go to from time to time. Tonight is one of those times.

The clock above my head is ticking loudly. Tick, tick, tick. Underneath this clock I have the word “LIVE”, a decorative decal with leafy vines around it, pressed against the wall. LIVE. LIVE. LIVE. Over the past several months since my daughter’s anxiety diagnosis I’ve been battling with this word. The life I had finally grown to accept, the way things were, changed so drastically that I felt as if I’d become trapped in a proverbial tornado of sorts–debris and chaos being flung around until finally the tornado left the area leaving only wreckage behind. Or so it seemed. Amongst the wreckage was hope. Hope of re-building. Hope for what would come out of the new creation.

And, rebuild we have been doing. My daughter is amazing. She is doing fantastic. Only 3 months into therapy he has moved mountains (literally: cognitive behavioral therapy is about making anxiety mountains go down and away). Her anxiety is virtually gone on the weekends now, and during the school week it is most prevalent in the morning, but even that is minimal compared to the beginning. I’ve been deemed “co-therapist” by our psychologist, and so we are only seeing her every other weekend. In between it is up to me to help my daughter stay on track with her tools and work on the anxiety issues at hand doing different practices to make them diminish. Having this new role added to the myriad of roles already on a single mom’s plate has been challenging.

But, it has been worth it to see my daughter grow, learn new coping skills, and become more confident. It has been worth it to stop and do my own reality check that life had become unmanageable with too many obligations outside of the necessary ones.

As I hear the tick, tick, tick of the clock and feel my eyes getting heavy, I know my heart is heavy also. I couldn’t keep up with this new role at hand if I kept trying to juggle my life as it was. Do you have trouble letting go? When it comes to my daughter, I let the reigns fly in a heartbeat….but, I also struggle internally with releasing things that I believe define who I am. Even though “things” actually don’t. Tasks and hobbies and trying to please everyone all of the time have nothing to do with who Kasey is as a human being. Life simplified, now I LIVE again: as a single working mom, as a co-therapist, as a woman who’ll do anything to make sure her daughter is safe and healthy, as a believer who is willing to see what doors this new path opens.

The taste of milk and honey is smooth, creamy, and sweet.  It’s simple.  I like that.

Hope y’all have been doing well, Readers!  I’ve missed you and plan to be back to blogging regularly again.  Stay tuned, be happy, and when everything else seems to be falling apart, give a chuckle!

Love and kindness,


Christmas Lights (in May)

Yep, I know it’s strange to be writing about Christmas lights in May, but I am. I can. It’s my blog! And, here’s the reason: for the past two and a half months since Maycee’s diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder it’s like we’ve been fiddling with a strand of faulty Christmas lights. We were, at first, searching for the missing bulb.

“Where is it?!”

Then we realized a bulb wasn’t missing, and we had to get the string of lights to sit just right. Twist a little bit here, twist a little bit there…and then…the lights began to flicker. We could see what the whole strand would look like once it was completely lit!

“Wow, did you see that?!”

This week, after 6 therapy sessions and lots and lots of practice every hour of every day fighting “Buttface”, Maycee’s Anxiety Monster, we began implementing a potential 504 plan for her school day. The biggest obstacle in front of her? Starting the day in class and not at the office, and then staying in class all day including transitions.

“Mommy, look! The lights! They are all on now! What did you do? How did you make it work?”

And, “just like that” the string of Christmas lights were glowing. Each and every bulb: yellow, orange, green, blue, red, and purple lighting up every branch of the tree. Smiles began to peek through. The green pine needles began to shine under the brightly lit glass. Giggling, goofing around, looking forward to more positive and exciting discoveries surfaced. Maycee’s exact words: I know I’m getting better because I’m being silly again. I’m being more like my “old” self.

“How was your day, Bugga Boo?” “GREAT! I was in class all day by myself [without the principal checking in], and I barely worried because I was so busy. I EVEN participated in P.E. and got to choose what line I sit in!  I sat with Leslie [her bff].”

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! You are so very lovely!

When the lights finally come on it feels so good; makes me want to find more strands to fiddle with…especially some of my own.  How ’bout you?

Honestly, it doesn’t hurt to be in the Christmas spirit all year long, and with 90 degree temps on tap for today I think I’ll look for a palm tree to decorate. 

Life is short, so keep fiddling with the strands of faulty lights-don’t throw them away or give up. They are just waiting to shine and  light up the world, and while you’re working on them be happy, and give a chuckle.  Ha, ha, ha…ho, ho, hooooooo…