Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough.

group of catsR1

Cats on a couch. / Photo by KidZond.


On March 5th, 1925 in  Ainsworth Iowa, a child was born. A baby girl, to Charles and Edith McDonald.

She was born premature, which in 1925 was almost a death sentence. To keep her warm she was put in a shoebox by a franklin pot belly stove.

Or so the story goes of my Mother’s birth.

Today would have been my Mother’s 94th birthday. She lived to be 80 years old. March 5th is always one of those days that make me grumpy. I really can’t help it.

My mother had a rough upbringing, her mother was taken away when she was only 4 years old. My grandmother had tuberculosis, at which time there was no known cure. My mother’s last memory of her mother was chasing the ambulance my grandmother was taken away in. She would hate the sound of sirens for the rest of her life, and they would always fill her with dread.

After my grandmother’s death, my grandfather placed my mother and my uncle in an orphanage. She would stay their most of her childhood, till she was returned to my grandfather when they couldn’t place her in an adoptive home. My mother always contended it had to do with her red hair and freckles.

She would be shuffled from family member to family member over the years. Finally arriving in Peoria Illinois, where she would meet my father.

As you would expect, my mother did not think much of my grandfather, and would have little to do with her family for the rest of her life except a sister and brother.

Mom was part of the greatest generation. Those who grew up during the depression and would later go on to fight in World War II. As my father headed off to war, my mother headed off to the factories.

Later in life, she would give birth to four baby boomers, be a stay at home mom, and raise us. She worked her butt off raising four children. Three of them boys.

Yet, she would have her quirks.

One, she had a passion for animals. Mostly those abandoned by others. My mother loved strays, and would take them in. Later in her life she would become the proverbial cat lady, growing her collection to the point of financial stress.

I have always wondered about her need to take care of cats. At first I thought it was because her kids were grown (since the cat lady phase happened after we were all grown and out of the house.) Yet as I have gotten older, I think it had more to do with her childhood. She was essentially a stray, abandon by her father to an orphanage. I think she couldn’t stand to see others abandoned. Even if those others were cats.

Oh, and my mother? She judged you on how you treated cats. Even dumping an old boyfriend because he didn’t like cats.

Another quirk of my mother was when she was injured. It didn’t matter to her, it was, just a scratch. This ’tis but a scratch mentality nearly cost my mother her life when she was in her 40’s. She had a tumor on her parathyroids and was deathly ill till she had it removed.

I remember my mother cutting her fingers on knives she would invariably leave in the soap foamed covered sink, and just band-aid her finger and keep washing. Even though the finger continued to bleed.

When I was a teenager, my mother was in a car accident. She sustain a pretty serious concussion. Yet she refused medical treatment. To her, it was just a scratch.

Then, in last year of her life, my mother fell and broke her hip. That can be fatal to many when they are in their later years of life. Not to mention she had other medical issues that complicated the matters. But mom rebounded, was able to walk again with the aid of a walker, and was on her way to a full recovery.

At the time, my mother lived with my sister and niece. All three of them living in a house together, enjoying life, and my sister was able to take care of mom. Something I am indebted to her, since she was the only one of us siblings who could at that point of mother’s children’s lives. Yet, as fate would have it, while my sister and niece suffered from the flu, my mother started to bleed internally. She never said a word to my sister. Kept it to herself. Because, after all, ’tis but a scratch. But it was more than that this time. And on January 20th 2006, my mother passed away.

Part of me will always have an anger toward my mother. I wished she would have paid more attention to herself, had less of a cavalier attitude about injuries. She missed out on my two youngest, did not see my oldest grow into the wonderful women they are. Yet she believed one shouldn’t dwell upon these minor hiccups of life. ‘Tis but a scratch after all.

It is hard sometimes to look at your parents objectively. To see them as human beings with baggage they carry with them. We tend to put our parents on a pedestal, or in sadder cases, put them in a hole and forget about them. My mother wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t a horror like other mothers I have heard about. She was a good ear, and gave sound, if not curt advice.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my parents, and yes, especially today, my Mother. Of course the pain doesn’t go away. How could it? You share a bond with your mother for 9 months, and for a lifetime afterwards. Whatever makes you think it would go away when they do? It doesn’t. They invade your dreams, and even your children’s facial expressions and voices. You see them in the legacy they have created. And you know, that life does go on, a little sadder, but still it goes on.







Michelle with Alexis. (I think, might be Nick.) / Photo By Kidzond.


I use this line often.

“Women have periods, Give Birth, and menopause. Men live 10 years less than Women. And I am okay with that.”

Moms are a special lot. Kind of unique to our species. It doesn’t detract from those women who are not mothers, but even they would have to concede, their own mother is rather unique.

For one, the simple fact that we spend the first 9 months of our existence sharing a body with this woman, who will at the end of this journey be our mother, is a monumental task. If you think about it, it’s a small miracle in its own right.

They will endure heartburn, swelling feet, cravings that may or may not be satisfied, and overall, go through a purgatory to bring you into this world. Others, may breeze through their pregnancy and birth without the slightest complication. And if they are smart, keep that bit to themselves, and not tell their friends who had 32 hours of labor with an epidural.

Of course any parent will tell you, it’s what comes after that the real tests begin. Taking this new human and shaping them into a person. Guiding them, admonishing them, nurturing them, and scolding them.

And as my own mother said, you never quit being a mother.

Some mothers do the most challenging of tasks, take on children that are not biologically their own. For a variety of reasons, these women will adopt a child and take on the honorific of being called Mom. It is not an easy task, a complicated road of lawyers and judges, fears and tears, all to give their undivided love to a child. What magical, wonderful women they are.

Not everyone is cut out to be a mom. Many women I have known over the years elected by choice not to become a mother. I think I shock them when I tell them ‘Good for you!’ Because it is not the reaction they expect. But good for them, they know themselves well enough that children are not what they want. They are selfless enough to know that becoming a mom just to fit into some mythical role, is not what they want in their life. Sadly, too many believe the myth, and give it a try. (See the paragraph above for the lucky children.)

Now of course I am not a Mom. I’m a Dad. And I was told by my 10-year-old daughter the other day that I was “The best Daddy in the world, and Mommy is the best Mommy.” And that is why I am blogging about Mothers today. Because nothing makes a parent feel loved than to be the Best in their child’s eyes.

But I did tell her that others think they have the best parents in the world. She didn’t quite agree with me.


Betty Kendrick 19 years old

Betty Anne McDonald (19 yrs of age – sans Freckles)


Of course to me, Betty Anne McDonald, who would become Betty Kendrick, was the best Mom in the world. Well, to me. She was a little lady of Scots-Irish decent and pushed the stereotype of a Redhead to the limit. A woman of immeasurable love and compassion that would turn on a dime if you pissed her off. My favorite story of my Mother was once saying to her “Hey Mom” and she slapped me. Holding my cheek I asked her what was that for? Her reply? “Oh, sorry, thought you were going to say something smart.”

In all the stories I could tell you about my mother, the one thing that holds them together like glue is the simple fact she was a Mom. Being a mother was very important to her. She raised us, punished us, made sure we had respect for others, and did her best with what limited experience she had. My Grandmother had died when my mother was 4 years old.

The common joke among men is to marry a woman like their mother. I believe I have succeeded in that.

Now many women take this wrong. That men want a woman who will take care of them, do their clothing, keep the house, raise the kids, etc. Pick a 1950’s T.V. mom.

But what we really want, is someone who will raise our kids like we were raised. Someone that we know, will be there to kiss the boo-boos. Yell at the kids for a messy room, proudly display a bunch of scribbles called ‘Art’ on the fridge and threaten their very existence when all else fails. We want that nurturing aspect for our children.

I am lucky, I found that woman. She is the Mother of my two youngest children. She’s a great mom. And an overall wonderful person. And I have to agree with daughter on this point. She is the best Mommy.

Of course tomorrow I will not be calling my Mother. I lost her 12 years ago. Not a day goes by without a thought or memory passing through my mind. It was 17 years ago this past March that I last seen her, hugged and kissed her goodbye. We would talk on the phone, but we lived 2000 miles apart, and try as I might, I never got out to see her again. People very close to me will not be talking to their Mothers today, for the first year. It doesn’t get easier, and yes, some years are harder than others.

As sad as it is, Mother’s Day is a wonderful day for me. It reminds me of the sacrifices women all over the world make to carry on our species. That they keep humanity going. That every human on this planet, came from a Mom, and for all they do, we should be truly grateful.

Happy Mother’s Day.


The Tooth Fairy Replies.


Not the Tooth Fairy / Photo by KidZond.


Dear Kayla,

As you know, your little sister lost another tooth. She is a very inquisitive child and wrote me a letter. I saw that you also wrote me a letter, even though you have had your adult teeth for some 12 years now. But even though you are 24 years of age, soon to be a mother yourself, I figured it would be okay to break protocol and respond to your letter.

Do you remember me?

Yes I do. I remember every child I have collected baby teeth from over my many magical years of service to humanity. Losing baby teeth is part of a childs journey into adulthood. With each tooth a little piece of their childhood is relegated to the past and they begin taking steps to becoming an adult.

Parents celebrate this passage by calling upon my services. I am a marker of time, a reminder that these precious moments are fleeting, and those pictures of gap tooth smiles, will too soon be replaced with pictures of other firsts. Pictures with a full set of adult teeth shining back.

I heard you’re giving out $2 now, what is that about? I got 50 cents and no letter!

Times change, prices change, children change. Your father received a quarter. You received 50 cents, your sister $2. Not every child gets $2, some get nothing. Life, is anything but fair.

In the grand scheme of things monetary gifts for a baby tooth comes under the category of It is the Thought that Counts. To carry on the tradition keeps me in the hearts of children, it gives them the power of imagination. That, is an awesome power. Without that power, humanity would never move forward. As silly as a Tooth Fairy may seem to you now that you are an adult, I, along with my other magical comrades, have a lasting impact on you. Even after I have faded from your personal beliefs.

You don’t write or call anymore.

No, but I will visit you one day. I will come to you in around 8 to 9 years hence when you must do your part of my job. It is a bargain we made, that I will exist in the hearts and minds of your children, and you will do the physical labor of my job. You may not find it fair, you may question if it is worth it for me to visit. Yet it is. I will bring a joy to bright little eyes, opening up a world of possibilities and of…Magic.

For in life, it is the dreamers that set the pace for humanity. They are the ones that ask the greatest question…What if? They will be the ones that discover medicines that will alleviate humanities ills, they will push the boundaries and reach for the stars, they will seek out solutions when others doubt solutions will ever be found. Dreamers are the ones who seek equality for the human condition. They are the ones that remember me the most. They believe that anything is possible.

While yes, in time, I will be relegated to the fond memories of childhood. Lose my magical abilities and be forgotten in the adult mind. It is the lasting impression, and that little smile on your adult children’s lips when they find the teeth that you requested I give back to you, in a small box, that you have kept as a keepsake. For in that moment, magic will once again be real, and they will know that I will be there for their children.


No! We are not [Mental Expletive] there yet!


Probably wondering where the nearest bathroom is. / All photo’s by Alexis at KidZond

By Js Kendrick


The point was driven home to me tonight in the most maddening way. Children should ride in the trunk.

Okay, so that may be a little drastic. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in all 50 States, probably in all 196 countries in the world, well hopefully so, but, oh… sometimes…it’s a nice thought.

Tonight wasn’t horrible, it was just 75 miles. About an hour and some change drive from my house to my daughter Jenelle’s place. You see, every other weekend, my grandson BenBen comes to visit us. It’s fun, psychotic, and very loud at my house that weekend. He’s 4 years old, my daughter 9, my son 6. So, yeah, you can imagine. I dread rainy weekends more than the three of them do. Yet for all the craziness of the weekend, it’s the drive back that usually sticks out in my mind.

There is the usual comments from the three of them. He did this, she won’t give me that, can we stop at McDonald’s? No? Can we repeatedly pester you until you give in? You just passed McDonald’s, you know that don’t you? Could we turn back and … Oops! BenBen took a sip out of someones drink and holy bejesus! The world, in all its majestic glory, just ended.

I think the restraining harnesses have a lot to do with it. You know, seatbelts? Yeah, when I was a kid we didn’t use them. Speed limits were optional too. Parents smoked in cars with the windows up and A/C on. You had to crawl over the front seat to sit in mom’s lap to get a drink. And Dad? well he wouldn’t just threaten to pull over. He would gladly pull over to the side of the road.  Just so mom could spank your butt if you did the slightest, yet some how terrible, infraction. Other parents driving by would point this out to keep theirs in line.

It was a different time of course.

Yet it was also a time when you carried your pillow and blanket with you on long trips. A time that you could lie down in the back seat of the car on those long rides knowing all was safe because mom and dad were in the front seat. You trusted them, and that warm fuzzy feeling of safety and security never leaves you, even when you are an old man like myself.

Today we strap our kids in. When they are babies, they could go to space in what we put them in, just add an oxygen mask and they are good to go. As they get older, well those Nascar seats are really cool, cup holders and all. Eventually they will be able to be in the normal seatbelts that adults use. Yet they are still restrained.

Which of course is a great idea. A really good thing when you think of it. If you’ve ever been in an accident, however slight, you know the importance of seatbelts. That and the importance of your mother’s arm flung across your chest when you’re old enough to sit in the front.

But even with the advent of seatbelts, the car seats, and baby seats, and yes, long before adults came to the conclusion that children, and adults, should probably be restrained less they get to practice being superman with very un-super results. There was the ancient dilemma of children.

Are we there yet? Or as mine put it, when are we going to be there? Even more modern. How long does take to get to so and so’s? What does it say on the phone? Sometimes it’s cute to hear them ask about what the phone says, or how many hours now. Then of course, when they ask you that same question 60 times an hour, you know the truth about this question. It becomes the grain of sand in that oyster of a brain of yours.

I am sure that on the first cart ride ever, used by parents to move their children, they too, heard that phrase. Are we there yet?

Along with their children bickering over who gets to read the stone tablet. No doubt the poor exacerbated parents had to look for the nearest tree so little stone age johnny and stone age jenny could go potty.


Stuffed toys and Snacks helps…unless they fight over them.


This year we traveled a lot. My wife’s family reunion was 6 hours away…according to google maps. Not that google maps is horrible, but they really need to add a “I have Children with me” button. Because 8 1/2 hours later we arrived at our destination. I think my wife and I jumped out of the car so fast people wondered if our pet leopard had gotten out of its cage. Close, but not exactly true. Two pet leopards, posing as our children.

The bickering is part of long drives, then the potty request, and of course the meal requests that generally revolved around a clown, or a king, or an old southern gentleman, and anything of a similar vein. Toys help, books to color and books to read. And thankfully in this modern age, electronic devices that can entertain for hours on end…or at least a good 15 minutes. Because in a car, time is an endless entity that can not be satiated by anything, but that most elusive thing … Destination.

Car rides are in a fact, boring. Especially long car rides. Especially car rides where you are strapped into a seat and have to endure your sibling in close proximity and do not have the option of running to your bedroom after you smack them for being taunted.

For me, a person who loves to drive, and actually picked it to be a career, I can not fathom why it is the end of the world. Then again, I’m a grown up. Also a weirdo, but that is truly beside the point. I used to drive a semi-tractor trailer all over. I used to go miles on end without stopping. Not once did my cargo tell me that this box was touching that box. Nor did the boxes complain that the pallets of wood they sat on were too hard. My cargo never talked back. Which I am very thankful for.

Children by nature are always on the move. They love to go about, explore and touch. It’s one of the joys of being a kid. Long car rides are contrary to their nature, so it’s only natural for them to get restless. Many adults get restless in long car rides. The one thing that separates children from adults in long trips is when we get home, take off our shoes after unpacking and have that ‘ah’ moment. We don’t turn to each other and say “Can we go back tomorrow?” Because as boring as the ride may be, as painful as it is to endure, that Destination was so much fun for the children that they want to do it all over again.


Taking photos on the way back from our family reunion helped Alexis with her boredom. Picking on her brother was just added entertainment.

My Dog has left me. (emotionally)


Jess sleeping comfortably on our couch. / All photo’s by KidZond

By Js Kendrick


Not exactly sure when it happened, but it happened this year for sure. It might have started in June, when we took a week vacation and had family members check on our animals. Or maybe it was that weekend when we boarded her, since we were going to be out of town (family too). By July, when we boarded her for a wedding we attended, it had definitely happened. My dog had left me emotionally.

“Come on Jess, wanna go outside?” I would say to her when I came home from work.

Jess would raise an eyebrow, then go back to sleep. I noticed this was a habit of hers of late. Ignoring my existence. She would just sigh, and turn her head. I was no longer of importance. I think she ignores me better than my ex-wife did.

Jess, or Jesse, was originally my daughter Kayla’s dog. Yet as often happens when your 16-year-old gets a dog, we inherited her. Honestly it was easier all the way around. My wife wanted to get a dog, my daughter, now an adult, lifestyle (and new apartment) wouldn’t allow dogs, so Jess came to live with us.

Jess used to wait for me impatiently as I put all my belongings down when I got home from my 2nd shift job. Wagging her tail and anticipating going outside. I often had to tell her to back up so I could open the door. Labs take up a lot of floor space.

Outside I would kick this ragged volley ball and she would chase it. Then stop after mid-chase to go potty and come back to me with a look of wonder as to where the ball magically went.

“Um, Jess you dropped it, go get it.” She would cock her head at me, look to where I pointed the go ‘oh yeah, forgot’. She forgot often. But chasing the ball was her favorite pastime then.

As I said my wife wanted a dog. Because families, especially with small children, need a dog don’t they? I was very hesitant. I was raised with animals. Dogs? yes of course! Cats? oh heck we had hundreds! (Okay maybe 2 to 3 when I was growing up) But we also had…Ducks, Geese, Chickens, Turkeys Rabbits, and a “pet” raccoon. The raccoon get’s quotes because they truly are never a pet. It’s more like an arrangement really. Yes I grew up on a farm.

Yet unlike any other animals, dogs are different. Although the internet is filled with stories of unconditional love from dogs, and how dogs are just like ‘children’.  Which is patently false, has your puppy ever bought Trolls three times? (didn’t think so.) But dogs, unlike any other animal, has your back.

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This cat does not have your back. Possibly not even its own.

Unless you piss them off. When you piss off a dog, lord help you.

We’re not talking bite you mad at you. Or shit on the carpet mad. This is more of the I’m going to ignore you exist mad.

Me: Comes home, opens door.

Dog: Opens one eye, ignores me. Closes eye very slowly and goes back to sleep.

Wife: Comes home, opens door.

Dog: Gets up so fast, possibly throwing out her back in the process, stands to greet her and wags tail enthusiastically.

Me: Asks the dog if she wants to go out.

Dog: Half opens right eye, sighs and closes eye. Again, slowly.

Wife: Just happens to walk by the door.

Dog: Leaps off couch, navigating two kids playing shopkins on the living room floor, steps over cat (who runs down the hall like the devil bit his tail) and goes to the door. Stares up at door expecting it to open soon, as wife walks away.

My dog does not like me anymore. She has packed her emotional bags and left. I am nothing anymore to her. If I was by myself at home and fell breaking my leg, because I slipped on a shopkin, and my phone fell just out of the reach of my hand. I am sure she would bring me her ball… and drop it on my phone. Probably as the cat climbed on my chest to knead me and purr.

So yeah, me and my dog broke up. I am sad about it. Thought about flowers and a card. But she would just bury the flowers and chew on the card. If I am ever to regain her affections, it will be through constant petting, scratching her belly, and not ignoring her. Never ignore your dog.

Of course I don’t think she is too mad at me. I still feed her, and just like a man, a dog’s heart is through her stomach.

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Because one couch is not enough to sleep on.



[No animals were harmed in the taking of these photographs. Despite their contorted postures, they are all healthy and happy. Tad overweight, but active nonetheless.]



Advice on how to raise your children to my satisfaction.


BenBen grabbing grandpa’s leg / photo by Kidzond

By Js Kendrick


Yesterday, on social media (you know, Facebook, she’s a Millennial) my daughter Jenelle posted a photo from Mommy’s Page. In the photo there was a black onesies with white letters. It read “My Mom Doesn’t Want Your (very bad word) Advice.”

And I thought, wow, that’s kind of harsh isn’t it? I’m not sure if I approve of your child wearing such an item with such colorful metaphors. Of course, the black onesies itself is kind of bad color for your child, don’t you think? Maybe a nice yellow would be better. You’re using cloth diapers right?

And what about yada? and yada yada? do you do that too? Not sure I approve. You know, I probably wouldn’t approve of how you’re raising your child, I know you wouldn’t approve of how I am raising mine. And while we’re at it, I really know you wouldn’t approve of how my parents raised me.

The point of the onesie and the comments that followed were basically “Don’t tell me how to raise my kids” yet many do, even those who say “Don’t tell me…” will tell you. It’s a very odd problem every parent faces. One, that at the least is an irritation, and two, at its worst can put an end to friendships.

The problem has the most simplest of solutions. Just raise your kids to my satisfaction and all will be well. But you won’t do that, you couldn’t do that. I really don’t expect you to do that.

The problem with other people’s children, and how they are raise, is that…well they are not our kids, those parents are not us are they? Those parents are individuals that were shaped by their individual parent who were…well you get the picture.

Yet we live in a society that asks for conformity, demands it actually. As individual as we think of ourselves (and we are) we conform. We have to. If we didn’t, social order would break down and Penguins would rule the earth. Because, come on, Penguins conform. Tuxedo’s an all.

Conformity is actually a good thing. It helped us survive as a species. Without it social order would break down and people would be texting while driving down the interstate. Okay, so we have to work on that one. Yet being ‘alike’ is hardwired into our species. It helped us fight off the nasty creatures that tried to eat our ancestors, and forced us to cooperate. Conformity is good.

It is also the reason people give you advice on how to raise your kid. You just aren’t ‘conforming’ enough. To their standards of course.

Typically advice can go two ways. “You don’t know what you are doing” or the “I had the same issue have you tried…” The latter being the favored one, well sometimes. Sometimes not.


This dirty foot is not conforming. / photo by Kidzond

If you are going to give advice, and oh, how we all want to give advice (note the irony here) it is best given after taking a healthy dose of tabasco sauce. That way, when you go to speak, your voice will be hoarse and volume of your voice will be diminished. You can, after a nice glass of milk and a slice of bread, gauge the reaction of the recipient and alter your words. Something to the effect of…

“Nice kids, isn’t that paint going to be hard to get out of their hair? What do you use?”

See wasn’t that easy? You didn’t admonish the parents, raise any hackles by criticizing their parenting skills, and pointed out that the particular shade of Kelly Green chosen, might not go with their outfits. Chartreuse might be a better fit.

All parent receive advice on how to raise their children. It is one of the curses of propagating the species. It’s going to happen folks, by all sorts of other folks. For the sake of conformity. It’s a penguin thing.

Obviously the most offensive are those who do not have children of their own. These are the special advisors for how to properly raise children. We can only hope that they become a teacher to a class of 40 students whose parents believe that sugar, in large quantities, is a balanced breakfast.

However those who have had children, years ago, and their children survived dinosaur attacks on the way to school, they too wish to impart their wisdom. Usually in the condemnation of how children these days get away with anything and everything. Remember to ask them what year Charles Manson was born. (1934 / courtesy of Wikipedia) It won’t stop the admonishment, but you can snicker as they admonish away.

Family advice is always the hardest. I mean, yelling at Aunt Mary during Thanksgiving dinner is a conversation killer. Unless it’s over her overuse of gravy, then it’s okay. However family, who only have your best wishes in mind, are the worst critics. Because biting their heads off (figuratively or literally) just ruins a meal. And you’ll be getting calls and texts on Black Friday. Well, at least it passes the time in the long shopping lines.


BenBen with Jess / photo by Kidzond

In the end it comes down to this. Don’t give advice on how to raise other people’s children. Unless you are wanting to raise them yourself. If you are willing to do that, well then, go right ahead and advise away. Because no one will raise their children to your satisfaction. Heck, most of us don’t raise our own children to our satisfaction.

As for my daughter, who is the mother of three little boys, well no, she is not following my advice on raising her kids.

Might have something to do with my offer of one way tickets to Antarctica for all three of them, not sure. Penguins are great parents.