The Letting Go

Seven years ago I stood on the edge of the internet abyss, looked into the darkness and pressed 'publish' on my very first blog post.

Seven years. That's longer than my son Shale lived. It's longer than I've called Jumby my own.

It's been seven years since I sat in front of my computer, listened to the squeal of dial-up internet and contemplated starting my own blog. It was late at night, I was exhausted from too many nights filled with nightmares of my recently deceased son and I was dangerously close to losing myself. I was so very broken on the inside.

I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again. Blogging saved my life.

I didn't know how to navigate through a jungle of grief and I was exhausted from my efforts. I didn't know how I got to where I was and I couldn't find the way back to the person I used to be. I was lost in some weird labyrinth of life and loss and my compass was buried with my son.

I was desperate to feel something and to find myself and in one brief moment of clarity I realized the only way back to myself would be one word at a time.

And so Redneck Mommy was born.

First pic

First Internet Selfie! Holy batwoman, send out the bad hair signal!

With my very first post and every post after, I found a bit of the person I once was all while growing into someone new. I started to heal.

I never expected Redneck Mommy to grow into what she became. I never expected to find an audience, a community or even best friends. And yet, I found each of those things, and more.

I've loved, I've laughed and I've cried. I've been published in a book, in magazines and in newspapers across North America. I've spoken at conferences across two different countries, blogged from different corners of the world and I finally understand why roaming fees are the devil. I've been on television, the radio and the lady who runs the post office thinks I'm famous.

I'm not about to ruin her delusions about me. That would be cruel.

Redneck Mommy will always be a part of who I am. Just as I will always be the mother to a boy named Shale, I will always be the lady who thought it would be a good idea to publicly brand herself a redneck as she wrote about her blue thunder.

But who I am now no longer resembles who I was when I first started this blog. I hope I will never again be the person who was so wounded it hurt to breathe.

Time won't heal a mother's fractured heart. But it can help it hurt less.

My time here hasn't just been about healing and coping. It's been about growing and thriving. My kids weren't the only one who have been growing up and growing older these past seven years. I have too.

I've the not so fine lines around my eyes to prove it.

Right this moment.

Something's never change. Computer selfies and bad hair for the win.

My blog now feels a little like how my son's pants currently look. A little short around the ankles and too tight around the waist. It's time for a change.

For years now, I've talked about walking away from Redneck Mommy, but I've never been able to pull the trigger. I'm attached to this space and this identity and quite frankly, I was scared to let her go. I don't really know who I am if I'm not the wise cracking blogger with the cartoony blog.

It took me a while to figure out I'm not really the Redneck Mommy anymore. And when I realized I had begun dreading attaching myself to her, I knew it was time to let her go.

I'm grateful for my time in this space and for all the support, success and friendship I have found along the way. I am thankful for each of my readers and for everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts and comments with me.

But it's time. I'm letting go.

All these years, all these words, and I finally found what I was looking for: Me.

It's time to stop fearing change and to keep growing into who I have become. It's time for me to just be me. Blue thunder and all.

I hope you'll stick around for my next chapter.

See you on the flip side.

The Home. T

You know when you are surfing online and you stumble across something that you think, "Wow, that's cool," and you immediately start coveting said item?

Things like Katy Perry's bosoms or the latest iPad?

Don't look at me like that. They're nice bosoms.

Anyways, there I was, surfing online, reading blogs and then SHAZAM! Covet central. However, instead of Katy Perry's breasts or Apple's latest trinket, it was a tee shirt.

A t-shirt from The Home. T. Graphic tees with your home state printed on them. They not only look cool, but a portion of each sale is donated to Multiple Sclerosis research. I saw one and I thought, "I wish they had one for Canada." I have a soft spot for MS research. Boo's father, and my dad's best friend, Larry, had MS.

My dad and Boo's dad. Our daddies.

As soon as that thought bubble popped into my head, Ryan from The Home. T. tweeted me and asked if I wanted a shirt.

The internet is magic, I tell you.

Days later, there is a shirt in my mailbox. It was like this but you know, not really.

(God bless creative friends and the Vine app.)

So what does one do when they receive a free tee shirt from an awesome company?

Well, they ask their kid to grab your camera so that you can model its awesomeness for all the internet to see.

It sounds like a good plan, right?

Except your kid is annoyed with you because you punted him off the Xbox and he was right in the middle of winning some epic round of zombie slaying something or another and he has no real desire to help you live out your super model dreams.

Oh, and then there is the fact it's cold outside but you can't take pictures inside because your house is a mess and as much as you love the awesome soft (so soft!) tee shirt that magically appeared in your mailbox, you don't love anything enough to tidy off that kitchen counter or dust that coffee table so you need to try and corral your obstinate child outside with your camera so that you can walk the catwalk of fame on your front deck.

A little cold never hurt anyone, right?

Frosty arse cold.

That would be -18F/-44 F with wind chill. So you know. COLD.


I'm no quitter.

Colder than a witches...well, you know.

It's so cold I can't feel my face.

Turns out, at those temperatures, I am a quitter.

It was a short modeling career.

My time wearing the tee shirt was even shorter. My daughter came home, took one look at it and then magically jacked it out of my closet when I wasn't looking.

She has my eye for awesome, that kid.

So thanks Ryan, for making a fabulous shirt and sending it to me, all so that my daughter can steal it and wear it as her own. It was good while it lasted.

Teenagers aren't near as magical as the internet it turns out.

Great for gifts to give or for teenagers to steal out of your closet. Everyone loves a super soft tee shirt that reminds them of home. Especially when a portion of the proceeds go to help fund MS research. Check him out, his shirts and his cause are worth it.

Gratuitous puppy picture ftw.Abbott agrees.

Test Anxiety

I never enjoyed high school. Not really. I liked the extracurricular activities, like flirting with boys who never really understood I was flirting with them, skipping classes to go to the convenient store three blocks away with my friends and walking endlessly around the school hallways at lunch time.

You know, typical high school stuff.

I kind of liked the clubs and the teams too.

But any joy I found in high school was overshadowed by one thing. Anxiety. Specifically, test anxiety. I didn't mind homework. I didn't mind studying and I all but geeked out over the prospect of writing any type of essay.

But writing an examination of any sort? Scared the bejeepers out of me. It's not like I didn't do well at exams either, because I usually did. Except for that one science test in grade 8 that I totally flunked. And maybe every math test in grade twelve. But every other exam I ever took? A's all the way, baby. I just loathed taking tests.

I was an honors geek until I decided it wasn't worth the effort and then I sort of quit going to school all together except to show up for the exams I so dreaded. If my parents noticed, they never said anything, mostly because I always managed to pull off decent grades on the tests I so feared.


The day I wrote my last high school test I practically did cartwheels out of the school. One of my happiest moments ever. I could literally feel the anxiety slough off of me as I walked away from that school for the last time.

It never occurred to me that I'd have to write exams in post secondary school. I never was the brightest kid in the school. But by the time I finally made it to college, I had two kids and a husband and I was too busy with real world problems like how to pay for both a babysitter and an electric bill when I only had the funds for one, to even worry about how I would do on any exams.

Adulthood kicked all my test anxiety to the curb.

Or so I thought.

It turns out my daughter, the junior, and my son, the sophomore, have managed to do something I never dreamt possible. They've dragged me back to high school hell.

It's semester end and with that comes studying and finals and all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanies it. From me. Not them. Neither of my children seem overly worried about taking their tests while I'm sitting here, twitching and having a panic attack on their behalf.

You must be thinking I am too heavily invested in their futures and in desperate need of a life outside parenting my brood, or something.

For the record, you would be right.

I can't help it. I have a deep seated fear my children will live in our garage for the rest of their days, unemployed and eating Cheetos, asking me why I never folded their laundry before it wrinkled in the dryer, as they clip their toenails and ask what I'm making them for dinner.  And it is all because they got a crappy mark in Physics or English.


All these years of avoiding helicoptering and suddenly I'm a roaring Tiger Mom who demands they study for hours on end in exchange for a glass of water and basic bathroom privileges.

I'm cracking the academic whip and my kids are plotting to choke me with it.

I'm fine with that really, as long as they do well on their exams first.

High school. Who knew it would be harder and more stressful the second time around when you have to trust your kids to do it for you?