It can be hard to grow up as a child of divorce. After all, not only do you have to spend time between two households, you also end up getting caught in the middle of your parent’s baggage. For young Kelsey Frederick, a single haircut would end up changing her life forever. Today, we are going to take a close look at how one father’s extremely poor reaction would change the life of his daughter (in a good way!) forever.
When you first become a teenager, the odds are pretty good that you are excited about your big day. After all, it isn’t every day that you wave goodbye to your pre-teens! For Kelsey Frederick, her special birthday dreams revolved entirely around bonding with her mother.
Close to Mom
Christin Johnson is the mother of Kelsey Frederick. Christin had won split-custody of her daughter during her divorce proceedings. In the years since her divorce, Christin had grown even closer to Kelsey. In fact, the two had become inseparable. Both mom and daughter felt like they could be free and open about their dreams and goals.
Unfortunately, Kelsey’s relationship with her father, Schaffen, was much more complicated. Following the birth of Kelsey, Schaffen would decide to leave Christin behind. The relationship had fallen apart, and he had already met someone new. Schaffen worked at a firefighter, and he was almost always busy. Still, Kelsey made sure to spend weekends with dad in order to try to grow their relationship.
Strong Female Influences
While mom and dad were both large influences in her life, there were many more strong role models for Kelsey to follow. Kelsey spent plenty of time with her godmother, Haylee Ann. Haylee and Kelsey were extremely close and this relationship would prove integral to Kelsey’s growth.
13th Birthday Party
When you celebrate your first birthday as a teenager, you definitely want to make it special. For Kelsey, her birthday request wasn’t crazy or out-of-this-world. Instead, all Kelsey wanted to do was spend an afternoon at the salon with her mother. Unfortunately, this simple request would turn into a family nightmare.
Professional Hair Treatment
During the appointment at the salon, Kelsey decided that she wanted to get highlights. With darker hair, Kelsey thought that blonde highlights would really change the way that she looked in the best way possible. Christin gave the hairdresser the go-ahead and soon Kelsey’s big transformation was underway.
A New Kelsey
By the end of the appointment, Kelsey looked like an entirely new person. Her blonde highlights made her hair look incredible. Kelsey was essentially glowing with happiness while her mother glowed with pride. Kelsey was filled with smiles, and she was soon ready to head to her dad’s for her weekend away. Wouldn’t her father be excited to see her new hair? Wouldn’t he be so proud?
Taking a Trip
As part of their divorce arrangement, Kelsey would split time between her mother’s house and her father’s. When she would visit her father, Kelsey would put her phone away as much as possible. After all, she really wanted to maximize her time with her father. So when Kelsey was slow to reply to texts, Christin wasn’t immediately concerned.
While Kelsey was gone, Christin started to nurture a feeling deep inside of her stomach. She couldn’t shake the idea that something had gone wrong. Still, Christin waited patiently and soon enough, Kelsey would return home. Only, when she came through the front door, Christin saw that something was VERY different and VERY wrong.
Dealing With Heartache
When Kelsey had arrived at her father’s house, tragedy had struck almost immediately. Her father and stepmother were horrified by the new haircut. Against Kelsey’s will, they had her hair completely ‘chopped off’. A ‘chop off’, for those that don’t know, is a style-less technique used in order to get rid of volume. In the blink of an eye, Kelsey’s beautiful makeover had been destroyed.
Dealing With Dad
To say that Christin was angry would be an understatement. She was beyond furious at what Kelsey’s father had done. So, Christin jumped into her car in order to confront Schaffen and his stepmother. Christin was beside herself, but she wanted to hear their reasoning. According to Schaffen, they had cut off Kelsey’s hair as a form of ‘punishment’. According to Schaffen, this was the consequence of her action to celebrate her birthday with a haircut.
To the Internet
It became readily apparent that Schaffen felt like he was correct. On the other hand, Christin felt like her daughter had been terribly mistreated. Without many places to turn to, Christin decided to share the story of her daughter’s punishment on the internet. Christin wasn’t looking for pity or attention, she was just furious!
Put on Blast
Within a day, comments began to pour into Christin’s social media account. Somehow, the story that she had shared had gone viral. Pretty soon the story had been shared more than 25,0000 times while more than 40,000 people had posted a reaction. Needless to say, Kelsey’s story was getting some media attention. People were uniformly shocked and disgusted by what Schaffen and the stepmother had chosen to do.
In order to navigate the situation more publicly, Christin would set up the Team Kelsey page on Facebook. Thousands of people would soon ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the page in order to stay updated on the situation. Christin thought it was important that Kelsey saw that she had support. To this point, Kelsey had been depressed, horrified, and embarrassed by how her father had treated her.
As it turned out, Kelsey’s story would soon catch the attention of a very important person, the Chief of Police. Soon, Schaffen was under fire by more than just the internet, he was in legal jeopardy. The suspect father would soon find himself standing before a judge. Schaffen and his new wife would both end up suspended from their jobs as a result of their actions.
Loss of Custody
The judge was not done laying down the law on Schaffen and his wife. As a final measure of protection for Kelsey, the judge decided to rescind custody rights from Schaffen. It was clear that Schaffen wasn’t interested in the well-being of his daughter while Christin was doing everything that she could. Christin was granted full custody!
While everyone celebrated the new custody agreement, Kelsey was still left afraid to go to school. After all, she was tremendously uncomfortable with how she looked. A few followers offered to donate money for a trip to the salon. Aunt Kelly (remember her?) would end up establishing a GoFundMe account to pay for the salon. Incredibly, Team Kelsey supporters would donate more than $3,500!
Back to the Salon
In order to celebrate, Kelsey would go back to the salon with the strong women in her life. Kelsey’s hair would get fixed up and the entire salon would join together in order to celebrate. At the end of the long ordeal, Kelsey was able to find happiness again thanks to the hard work of her mother and the caring words of encouragement that came from the internet.
Chaperoning a Kindergarten Class: Not as Easy as It Looks
When you see a group of kids out with their teachers, you might be worried that their group will get in front of you in line. But you probably don’t think much else about the large, organized group sharing your space in the museum, restaurant, or wherever.
The children are usually in pairs, holding hands, and walk single file down rows and sidewalks. The whole thing seems so organized that anyone who has never actually been on one of these field trips as an adult doesn’t realize how much work goes into making those trips manageable.
Clint Edwards is the owner of a blog called “No idea what I’m doing: a daddy blog.” Like most first time parents, he quickly came to the realization that parenting was not what he expected. Children are their own little people, and any expectations he started with were quickly crushed.
In his blog, Clint talks about the adventures he gets to have as a parent. He blogs about how he came to spend so much time with his children, and how different his life was before them. He talks about challenges, like supporting his daughter with ADHD. In one recent blog, he recounts how a coworker told him how tough he makes parenting look. But Clint knows he has great kids, and nothing can make up for the magic of being a parent.
Volunteering Looked Easy
Most schools welcome parent volunteers during field trips, and some would have difficulty without the extra help. Having parents means being able to split into smaller groups, so each adult only has to keep eyes on a smaller number of kids at once.
Clint volunteered to chaperone his daughter’s kindergarten class when they got to make a trip to a pumpkin patch. He was responsible for keeping track of just five small kids, which sounds perfectly doable.
Other People’s Kids Are Harder
While he is glad he volunteered, and happy he got to spend extra time with his daughter, Clint was shocked at how much more difficult it was than he thought.
He was only with the group for four hours, but spent the time worrying he’d lose one of the children and something horrible would happen. There were other problems, like mud and strange smells, and he worried that he wouldn’t be able to keep the children clean, safe, and behaving.
Teachers As Heroes
Even while he worried, the teachers were in charge, making it look easy. They got the children to change shoes at the beginning and end of the trip, and they kept everyone focused on the trip. Not only did they do a great job keeping order, they did it all with patience and big smiles on their faces.
Clint says he hasn’t had a drink for 16 years, but he really wanted to after the field trip. Instead, he had a handful of Tylenol, a long, hot soak in the bathtub, and more cookies than he really needed.
Clint quickly realized that he had no problem spending the day with his own children, but being responsible for other people’s children is much harder. He realizes teaching is not the job for him, but he has so much respect for the teachers who dedicate their lives to their students.
Clint wants to send a message to teachers about what a great job they’re doing, and to parents that they should thank their children’s teachers and give them a pat on the back.
Getting a Toddler to Sleep – Mission Impossible
Women are often told as they are about to have a child, “enjoy your sleep, it’s about to end.” Disregard the fact that most women in their third trimester already can’t sleep well due to discomfort and movement inside on a regular basis. And, no surprise, once the newborn happens, sleep does disappear, as if on command. Instead, the ritual of feeding just about every hour makes a zombie out of almost the hardiest of women with a newborn.
Add in the mix of doing something wrong, of SIDS occurring while the child does sleep, and trying to learn everything in what seems like nature’s crash course sprinkled with tons of relatives offering annoying advice that doesn’t apply, and sleep seems to literally disappear for a year or two altogether. So once the toddler years come along, and a 2-year-old doesn’t want to now go to sleep on schedule, vocalizing it quite loudly at times, finding a sure-fire method for one’s own sanity and the resting health of the child becomes a must.
Interestingly, moms who allow their newborns and babies to fall asleep on them figure out very quickly that it’s one of the few things that actually works amazingly well in knocking out a little one. And this, of course, sets up the issue of how long should this pattern continue, even when it works really well with toddler as well. It’s not a shocking surprise, a mother’s heartbeat is a very fundamental, natural calming sound for a baby child. Almost instinctually, the child knows protection and sleep from pregnancy days, like an ingrained memory. But it also sets up a mother as a regular sleep aid too, which creates complications.
First, kids grow. And that means they get heavy. Just holding them all the time becomes physically impossible. Try holding a bucket of water with your arm power. It’s the same idea, eventually even the strongest person realizes they won’t last long. So, the approach morphs into rocking, crouching and eventually comes the issue of the toddler falling asleep with mom in the parent’s bed.
Culturally, Americans frown on the idea of a toddler falling asleep in the parents’ room. The child needs to learn to sleep on his or her own, so we believe. Yet in many other cultures children are allowed to fall asleep with their parents, and its as normal as eating or drinking. So, did we somehow get it wrong in the U.S. and we’re missing out on the magical sleep we all want at night and can’t get as new parents? Well, maybe so.
The fact is, many parents trying the sleeping together approach are going to find they and the child are getting better sleep. And once the child is comatose, it’s fairly easy to carry the sleeping ruggle to his or her bed and get back in one’s own without worry. So, exactly where is the problem? It may very well be our own cultural stigmas hang up our ability to get decent sleep with a newborn more than necessary. And if that’s really the case, parents should really focus on doing what works best for them and their child. The heck with what Grandma thinks.
College is a Family Affair for this Mother-Daughter Duo
Imagine walking into the first day of classes as a freshman in college. You sit down in the front row and watch other students start to file in. Next thing you know, your mom enters the room, sporting a new backpack and a freshly sharpened pencil. No, you didn’t leave your lunch at home or forget your gloves. Mom is also taking this class.
This is exactly what happened to 16-year-old Emma and her stay-at-home mom, 37-year-old Kathy.
When Emma tested out of high school after only 3 days of attendance by taking the Texas Success Initiative test, she decided to enroll in the University of North Texas. Kathy, a mother of three, was so inspired by the achievements and success of her oldest daughter, that she decided that she was going to enroll as well.
When Kathy started having kids she decided to be a stay-at-home mom. That meant that any idea of going to college went out the window. But her daughter’s academic success, testing out of high school and getting both her high school diploma and associates degree at the age of 15, inspired Kathy. She decided to take a chance and give college a try. Something she thought she’d never get again.
“The first day of class, the professor, of course, says, ‘You guys have the same last name. Are you sisters?’… I’m like, ‘I’m her mother,’ and Emma at first was so embarrassed,” Kathy said.
While some may think that Kathy was there to help Emma, the opposite is actually true.
“A lot of times she was helping me!” Kathy exclaimed.
Emma, who thinks of her mom as her best friend, now thinks it’s great that she gets to share her college experience with her mom. They go to football games and hang out with their other classmates and friends together. At first, she was embarrassed to have her mom around all the time, but then realized what an opportunity it was for them both.
“Going to college together just makes our friendship so much stronger,” Emma noted. “No matter what, she’s going to be there to support me and she’ll love me no matter what.”
While Emma may not have realized that “being there” meant literally in the next seat while sitting in English 101, she is grateful to share the college experiences with her mom.
After 20 years out of school, Kathy is working hard and is grateful she has her daughter as a classmate and for helping her so much. “I think initially professors think somehow I’m going to help her, when the truth is, a lot of times she was helping me.”
While many folks may have been horrified at the idea of sharing their college experience with their moms, Emma and Kathy are a positive example of how it can work. The mother-daughter duo plans on attending medical school together after finishing up their coursework for their bachelor’s degrees.
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