the joys of motherhood
& Macey Kerbrat
of St. Clair
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from the editor
First, a word about, well, me:
Happy birthday to me!
In December, I will celebrate the big 5-0. The half century mark. The
And I can’t wait.
When my family and friends began asking me earlier this year, “What
do you want to do for your 50th birthday?” ideas were tossed around. And
finally, it occurred to me. I told my husband, in no uncertain terms: I want
to spend it with you, right here in Port Huron, surrounded by friends who,
over the years, have become my
For almost 25 years, I have lived
approximately 1,500 miles from my
family of origin. And I love them.
But over the years, I learned that it
was important to create a family of
my own within my own zip code.
And for more than 20 of those years,
I have lived in Port Huron. So,
that’s pretty much half of my life.
And I am ever so, so thankful for
my local friends who have become
family to me. The friends who
invited me to their family holiday
celebrating a surprise 40th birthday party with celebrations or who were brave
my adopted parents, dave and donna schwartz enough to spend holiday dinners
eating food prepared by me. The
friends who have allowed me to share with them life’s greatest joys, whether
it was singing karaoke in a dive bar, or sailing around the Great Lakes, and
life’s greatest sorrows, such as the tragedy of heartbreak or losing loved ones.
I cannot imagine having lived this wild and crazy fun ride I call my life
without all of them. And they know who they are. I know they do. And I
love them all.
So happy birthday to me. Thank you, Port Huron and Blue Water Area,
for helping me create a life that has been filled with so much fun and love
and laughter. I am so blessed. So on December 6, if you see a parade of
people making merry throughout downtown Port Huron, come along
and join us. I promise lots of fun. And I am forever thankful for the many
friends who have made my life here one of the very best a gal could ever
hope for. Here’s to the next 50 (or more!) great ones!
In this issue…the Secret Society of Moms
This issue is all about something I know absolutely nothing about. It is
about being a mom. Because I do not have children, I am not a member
of the Secret Society of Moms that I know must exist. On most days I am
lucky that I actually drag just myself out of bed and downstairs into my
home office, so I am quite sure if I had children I would forget to feed them
or I would leave them behind somewhere and lose them. I admire every
one of these women -- and every mom I know -- so much for the way they
are able to juggle the care of so many people in their busy lives (and for not
losing them). My hat is off to each and every mom out there. You have the
oldest and toughest job in the world and please know that you are admired
because I can assure you, not everyone (like, ahem, me) can do it. And
you are doing it. So pat yourself on the back (and pour yourself a glass of
celebratory wine once the kids are in bed). At least that’s what I would do.
And maybe that’s why I knew better than to become a mom. You are all
far, far better women than I am. Cheers to you!
Editor & Publisher
Blue Water Woman
Patty Shine & Carrie Kerbrat 4
Ann Beck 6
Barb Randall, Ann Randall-Kendrick & Laura Kendrick Godwin 8
in Blue Water Woman!
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volume 3, number 4 winter 2013
Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,
3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 7,500.
Editor & Publisher: Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company
Advertising: Patti Samar at 810-987-1256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscriptions: To receive Blue Water Woman at home, mail $25 to:
Blue Water Woman, 3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060
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Call Blue Water Woman at 810-987-1256
Mission: Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication
for women living, working and playing
in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.
Its stories and features are written and designed
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© Blue Water Woman is the property
of Patti Samar of The Write Company
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patty shine, carrie kerbrat
& macey kerbrat, st. clair
No user manual included
by Patti Samar
Would-be moms, beware. Children do not come with instruction
That fact did not stop Patty Shine of St. Clair and her husband, Tim,
32 years ago from having four children. Nor did it stop their eldest
daughter, Carrie Kerbrat, and her husband, Kevin, from having their
first child, Macey, more than two years ago.
That strong sense of family-fun and togetherness -- through good
times and bad -- is spreading throughout the Shine family as Carrie’s
older brother, TJ, and his wife Becky, who live in Florida, have also
recently become first time parents.
“Tim and I always said we’d have six, but then we saw how much
it took with four,” said Shine. “They don’t come with instruction
Shine, who works for St. John Providence Health System at a
physician office on the site of St. John River District Hospital, has
worked full time since 1978.
She always knew she wanted a family. After graduating from St. Clair
County Community College, she married her high school sweetheart
and started her family.
“I think when I was young, that’s what you did,” she said. “It wasn’t
common for women to have careers. You found someone to get
married to and then had a family.”
And though being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t an option for Shine,
she knew that working outside of the home was good for her sense of
“I would have preferred to work maybe three days a week, if that had
been possible,” she said. “But I always wanted to be something outside
of being someone’s wife or mom. I wanted that for myself.
“Now I look back and wonder, ‘How did I work 40 hours a week and
raise four kids?’”
For her daughter, the path to motherhood has been different, but the
goals are similar.
Kerbrat, a program director at Community Enterprises of St. Clair
County, went to Ferris State University and received a bachelor’s
degree, but returned to the Blue Water Area and eventually married a
high school classmate.
“Once I grew up, I knew I wanted kids, but I don’t think I had any
idea how life would change until it happened,” said Kerbrat. “It’s fun,
but it comes with a lot of worry. Before, I wouldn’t have thought that a
fever was something to worry about, but now I do. Now I know what
my mom went through for the past 32 years.”
Shine added: “It definitely comes with worry, but I’d do it all over
again. The good outweighed the bad.”
Both Shine and Kerbrat commended their husbands with being
excellent partners in marriage and in parenting.
“Tim is a great dad and he loves being a grandpa,” said Shine of
her husband. “And I can tell Kevin is doing a great job as a dad when
Macey lights up when he walks in the room.”
A big part of motherhood for Shine has been watching her children
move through the various stages of their lives and into adulthood.
“I was never sad when they moved on from one stage of life to the
next,” she said. “I always looked at it like it was another adventure for
them. And seeing them as adults in their marriages and happy and
doing well, it’s fulfilling to me.”
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ann beck, fort gratiot
with liam & ella
by Patti Samar
Ann Beck knows what it is like to be a successful attorney representing
clients, dealing with other attorneys and being tough on the job.
And then she became a mom.
Ann and her husband, Christopher Beck, DDS, of Fort Gratiot, are
the parents of Ella, 7, and Liam, 4. “I used to be totally stymied by
rude attorneys in court and I could handle that and thought I could
handle anything,” said Beck with a laugh. “And then my three year
old says, ‘No!’”
A native of Traverse City, Beck moved to the Blue Water Area
-- where her husband grew up -- after she got married. While dating,
the two decided they would like to have a family, and Beck knew
something about having small children around, particularly since she
has a brother 12 years her junior.
“I knew what I was getting into,” she said. “But there’s no instructions.
It’s a game changer.”
Beck no longer works outside of the home and is able to stay at
home with her children. She is involved in their school where she
volunteers as a lunch room mom and an assortment of other tasks as
“I’m not working and I’m very lucky that I’m not working, soI try
to volunteer as much as I can,” she said.
At this point, her children are the focal point of her life.
“You live for them,” she said, “and I don’t mind it that their life
is now my life. My life revolves around them and I never thought I
would say that.”
The biggest life change she and her husband have experienced since
having children and becoming parents has been a shift in priorities.
“Your social life turns inward and you focus more on family,” she
A key to the success of her home life, she said, is having a very involved
spouse. “It’s huge,” she said. “I am very lucky that Chris is an
awesome husband and dad and he wants to be a hands-on dad.”
The two have learned the ropes of parenting together, she said. “I
was almost 32 when I had Ella,” she said. “I went to the University
of Michigan. I went to Wayne State Law School. I thought I was
reasonably smart. But, once we had kids, we didn’t know what we
“It’s all by trial and error. With Ella, we thought we had it down
and then Liam came along and he’s completely different.”
Her mother and girlfriends all helped along the way and offered tips
and advice, which she found helpful or reassuring, depending upon
Beck also noted that, even though much of her life revolves around
her children, she understands the importance of maintaining her
sense of self as well.
She belongs to a book club and she is involved with committees at
Port Huron Hospital. “Those are my outlets to still be me because I
don’t want to lose myself,” she said. “As much as I love my children,
I know I need my me-time.”
For Beck, however, me-time and family time are balanced.
“Have our children enriched our lives? Absolutely. Parenthood
is chaotic. It’s frustrating, it’s rewarding. It’s more rewarding than
frustrating, though. They are two little people who mean everything
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Part of the Action
by Patti Samar
Talk about the ultimate role models.
When Laura Kendrick-Godwin was considering possible career choices,
she didn’t need to look far to see two very educated, professional and
successful business owners. She only needed to look at her mother, Ann
Randall-Kendrick and her grandmother, Barb Randall.
From the time she was born, Kendrick-Godwin had watched her
mother and grandmother work side-by-side in the family business, both
as licensed funeral directors at Pollack-Randall Funeral Home. After
Kendrick-Godwin joined the family business, also as a licensed funeral
director, theirs became one of less than a handful of multi-generation
families of women funeral directors.
Randall, in fact, was the first woman to become a licensed funeral director
in St. Clair County. For many years a traditional stay-at-home-mom,
Randall attended mortuary school after deciding to pursue a formal
education when her four children had begun attending school all day and
she had more time.
“I thought I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. But her husband, who
was already a funeral director and co-owner of the family business, encouraged
her to attend mortuary school. “It’s a fascinating profession.”
And, as it turns out, she ultimately shared her enthusiasm for it with
her daughter, Randall-Kendrick. “I was always interested in it, but my
dad was always adamant that we needed to work for someone else first.”
He encouraged her to pursue a degree in accounting and she eventually
passed the CPA exam, but eventually returned to college to attend mortuary
“The family business was growing at that time, so there was a need for
support staff,” she said. For a while, she worked both as a CPA and as a
Kendrick-Godwin has also pursued other careers outside of or related to
the family business. A licensed funeral director, she is currently pursuing
a master’s degree in psychology and a few years ago she earned a Coast
Guard license and she works as a relief-captain on the Huron Lady II.
Now married and a mother herself, to eight-month-old Luke, Kendrick-Godwin
has a new appreciation for the various ways in which her
mother and grandmother broke ground for her.
“I’m still figuring out how to be a working mom,” she said. “I’ve had
times when I didn’t have a babysitter and had t bring him to work with
Her grandmother noted, “I always wanted to be a mom and God
blessed me with four beautiful daughters. I intended to be a stay-athome-mom.”
By the time Randall-Kendrick was an adult, however, the world had
changed. “It never occurred to me to be able to stay home and raise
children,” she said. “My generation thought that we would do it all. And
I was able to pretty much do it all.”
All three women noted that working in a family business has helped
their family life, particularly given the sporadic hours that funeral directors
“We work together and we’ve made the most of every minute,” said
Randall-Kendrick, whose husband is also a funeral director. “Part of our
ability to do this is due to the support we’ve received from my dad and
my husband and Laura’s husband.”
She also noted the significant contributions of their employees, as well.
“We have a lot of wonderful staff,” she said, noting that they are like
family, as well.
“One of the blessings is being able to work together and spend time
together,” said Randall.
Will the next generation continue the family tradition? Kendrick-Godwin
isn’t sure what eight-month-old Luke might decide once he is older,
but she is thankful for her own experiences growing up in the family
“Once I got married I knew I wanted to have a family and I had such
great role models in my grandma and my mom,” said Kendrick-Godwin.
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