HerStory: Meet Roxie


I grew up in a small Midwestern town. We had good schools, a lovely rural landscape, and nice people. And probably THE nicest was Roxie Kaminski, the secretary at my junior high school and mother of one of my classmates. We’ve recently reconnected over social media and I discovered her delightful parenting memoir Puzzle Piece Heart. She raised four children as a single mother and from an outsider’s perspective, made it look easy. She was at every school event, her children were smart and kind, and she always had a smile on her face.

Getting into the book reveals the reality that is parenting young children alone. Through her journey of self-discovery, she shows how the choices we make affect the way we raise our children. She writes with wisdom and humor and her book includes both advice and anecdotes. Reading Puzzle Piece Heart makes you feel like you have a mentor mom sitting across the table from you, willing to share her experiences without a shred of superiority.

We’re fortunate to have an interview with Roxie on the blog today.

What is your story summarized in a few sentences?

Children learn who they are through the eyes, words, and actions of their parents. When I became a parent, I learned that I was jealous, selfish, impatient, and judgmental.  I had to begin to learn how to overcome these feelings and figure out if “I was enough” in order to role model the values that I wanted my children to have in their lives. Because I didn’t know the end result while they were all young, I learned to trust myself and the voice inside to guide us all through the years. And prayed a lot!

What are you learning right now?  

I am learning to value each day as a gift and to learn from each person I meet.  We each leave an imprint on the lives of the people around us…what imprint do you want to leave?

What prompted you to write a book?  

This is the book that I needed to read when I became a parent.  In the beginning, I wanted my children to listen to me and do what I said. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  And what I learned is if I listened to them and what they needed and tried to incorporate that into the solution, they felt heard, valued and part of the team. They felt important and wanted to stay connected.

How was the book writing process for you? 

I talked about wanting to write my book for a long time and my daughter, Kelly suggested that I light my favorite candle, get my cup of French Vanilla coffee and sit at the computer at the same time every day and write one memory.  It worked. The book was written in a very short time but it took 10 years for me to actually get it published because I kept doubting myself.  When my 4 children wrote the Foreword, that became my inspiration to continue getting it published.

What feedback has made you feel like the writing process was worth the effort?

I have been blessed with the generosity and kindness of people posting my book on Facebook, presenting at book clubs, doing book signings and reading the gracious words in Amazon reviews of my book. I am truly blessed.

Why did you chose the title that you did?

PUZZLE PIECE HEART  What I Learned While Single Parenting was chosen because one night at our dinner table, my son was talking about how much fun he had at his dad’s house over the weekend. He was interrupted by his older sister who said that he shouldn’t talk about what happened at Dad and his new wife, Jean’s home because it would hurt my feelings. I explained to all of the kids that their heart is like a puzzle and that everyone they know has their very own puzzle piece in their heart and that no one can ever take the place of my puzzle piece or their dad’s puzzle piece in their heart.  And they can add another puzzle piece in their heart for Jean and their heart will just continue to grow bigger and bigger with more love for everyone. Children deserve to love both parents and express that freely. Shortly after that, my 6- year-old daughter taught me to add a puzzle piece to my heart.


What can’t you live without?

Love, French Vanilla Coffee, and English Toffee

What’s your day job?

Currently happily retired, babysitting my grandchildren and volunteering.

What are your passions?

Spending time with my children and their families; volunteering in the local hospital Emergency Room; volunteering at our local hospice unit and spending time with patients and families; and time with friends.

If you could outsource one chore/task, what would it be?

Cleaning house.

Reflections on mothering older kids versus younger kids:

Younger children require great amounts of energy, patience, and getting in touch with the kid in you.  Older children require great amounts of courage to hold a boundary while teaching them to negotiate solutions and not going crazy in the process. A good sense of humor is valuable for both ages, rent one, borrow one, buy one — do whatever you can to get one.

What would your friends say about you?

I think they will encourage you to read my book to pick up one or two ideas to help you feel better about being a parent.  You’ll laugh at my mistakes and be encouraged to help your children learn good values to be a good friend, partner, co-worker, and mate through communication. I think they would say I am honest, trustworthy and loving with a side of funny.

What’s a habit you’d either like to establish or to kick?

I would like to remember to live in gratitude every day. It is such a peaceful feeling and I have so much to be grateful for.  I would like my habit to be to think of 3 things at the end of the day that I am grateful for because it is a wonderful way to end my day.

Impactful book(s) in your life?
The Four Agreements
by Don Miguel Ruiz
Any of Dr. Brené Brown’s books: Gifts of Imperfection; Daring Greatly; I Thought It Was Just Me

Favorite quote?

The paradox of change is that we can’t affect deep change until we first accept ourselves just as we are.    -Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.    -Benjamin Franklin

What color best represents you and why?

Purple.  It makes me feel vibrant.

If you had an unlimited budget and a free weekend, what would you do?

Gather all of my children and their families and fly to the island of Kauai for a week.

What’s on your bucket list?

  • Write a second book
  • Visit all of the National Parks
  • Go on a romantic picnic
  •  Meet someone to go on a romantic picnic with
  •  Learn to make English Toffee to perfection
  •  Align my Chakras
  •  Help build a home with Habitat
  •  Schedule a massage each week
  •  Attend a murder mystery dinner
  • Be part of a flashmob

What’s your advice for young mothers?

  • Find the courage to discover your strengths and weaknesses.  Build on your strengths and turn your weaknesses into strengths.
  • Model behavior that you want your children to learn.
  • Be kind to yourself with positive self-talk.
  • Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.  -Carol M. Barrett
  • Have fun because then everyone around you will have fun.