It’s been awhile folks. Forgive me, a new career will do that to your writing schedule.
Yet, this year, or early next, I will be publishing my first novel. Something I couldn’t have begun to dream of doing, without my mother’s love and encouragement.
I wanted to start my blog back with something light hearted. We all get our strength from somewhere. Mine comes from my mother. And this is for her.
When I was a little girl, I was different than everyone else around me. I was loud and outspoken, I didn’t think like other people did. Even as young as six years old, I said things that didn’t match a traditional Appalachian view (I may have stood up and announced that I wanted to preach at five years old). Where I come from, women aren’t supposed to be educated in the ways of religion, and it’s considered a sin in most Appalachian religions for a girl to preach (teach about Religion). A girl child’s bold declaration startled others, but when my mother heard the story, my mom just laughed and hugged me close.
My mom then scrimped and saved and worked extra hours and days so that I could take swimming lessons, ballet lessons, tap lessons, play basketball, cheerlead, play tennis, and take me to Washington D.C. and New York City.
I dreamed and imagined of places and things beyond Appalachia. As a teen, I became enamored with Japanese culture and anime, in a time period before “it was cool.” My mom had no idea who a Sailor Moon was or what a Dragon Ball was, but she went out of her way to try to understand and support my geeky self. Do you know how hard it was in 1999 to find a VHS of any anime in rural america? My mom found a way.
More than anything, I wanted to be a lawyer. Instead of telling me that “little hillbilly girls from the lower middle class couldn’t realistically become a lawyer,” (Yes, someone really told me that), my mom always supported me, believed in me, and dreamed along beside me. In law school, I had to have major surgery, and my mom was the one who came to take care of me, nursed me back to health, and helped me believe I could make it through the semester. That semester, I moved up to sixth in my class.
I failed the bar exam the first time I took it, and my mom left work, drove two hours, to tell me in person not to give up. She stood in the audience the day I was sworn in as a lawyer by a Kentucky Supreme Court Justice, inside the state capital building.
Five years ago, when I decided to make one of the biggest decisions of my life, waking up on my 33rd birthday and filing for divorce, my Mom told me she loved me, supported my decision, and gave me her credit card so my friends and I could go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday and new found independence.
Four years ago, when I got married to my soulmate, my mom smiled as I said I wanted to have a Harry Potter themed wedding, and started helping me plan, along with my amazing mother-in-law, the most beautiful wedding I could ever have imagined. My mom loves my husband as much as she loves me, and that’s a blessing beyond words.
It was only six months ago, when lady fate brought a choice that would yet again change my whole life. As long as I could remember, I wanted to be a public defender, and for a decade, I did the best I could, in a broken system, to make a difference. I needed to grow in my career, to move on, to embrace change . . . but I was terrified of change and risk. I was afraid to tell my mom, I was considering leaving the Public Defender’s office, I was afraid somehow she would be disappointed. She wasn’t. She was proud. She told me I was brave, and if I wasn’t happy, I should apply for the new job. I did, and my mom was the second person I called to tell I accepted the position (the first was my husband Nathan). I am so happy in my new legal career, and there were and are those who don’t understand why I changed course, but it is a path I would be glad to chose again.
I would never have been so brave in my life without my mom’s encouragement to dream. I have a better life because my mom taught me dream and believe in magic. So, thank you mom, and Happy Mother’s Day!
I love you, mom!