(This post originally appeared on Mother’s Day 2018. I re-post it annually to honor my late mother and to remind those of you missing your moms that you are not alone. We are strong, and we are still capable of advancing the dreams of those who came before us. More importantly, there’s still time to live our dreams.)
In honor of my first Mother’s Day without my mom, I share this essay I wrote in response to those who don’t understand why I left home to find my happiness.
It’s okay that freedom is important to me. There’s nothing wrong with my sense of adventure or love of the world. I am Anita’s daughter. I enjoy freedoms not available to those before us. Advances in laws, attitudes, transportation, medicine, and computer technology have opened opportunities that are not lost on me.
I can enjoy hot showers in my “think tank” and magazines in my “reading room”.
I can Google that building’s namesake and deliver an email to the mayor, asking him to add a historical plate explaining the significance–from a device in my hand.
Also from that device, I can book a flight to Paris and AirBnB rooms across the globe, the worst of which are probably still more comfortable than the log cabin Grandma Lula grew up in.
I might have loved her life in many ways, but I don’t have to replicate it to honor it. I can love both worlds–and all worlds.
Likewise, I can love the lives of my sisters, even if they differ from mine. Two of them had children out of wedlock and were single moms for awhile–lifestyle choices likely unheard of when my mom was 19. My other sister left home, had a long marriage, freed herself, and greatly influenced me.
I love all of their lives, where they make them happy.
It’s not that I didn’t want children or marriage. For much of my young life, I wanted little more. I dreamed of having a big house for all of the unloved children I would adopt and save from sad lonely lives (like mine sometimes was). But I was chasing that life for many unhealthy reasons. Thus, my relationships didn’t last. I was too blinded by my own pain to see the addictions, homosexuality, and other incompatibilities. I was no better partner than they were.
Work, school, sports, and career were what I was good at, which is why I let them lead me.
These were choices my mother and grandmother didn’t have, and I always assumed they would eventually lead me home. They did, just not a home in Louisville. At least for me, home truly is where the heart is, and my heart is (hopefully) always within me.
My home, like my office, is wherever I am. That is, in part, because of the love all around me. It has never been absent, even when I couldn’t feel it. I often deflected it. At other times, I tried to hoard it.
When I set love free, I became free.
It has taken a lot of therapy and personal development that I still work on every day, but this is what works for me. It’s not better or worse than what works for you. It’s just different. Be different, yet be kind, and welcome the unique qualities in others. They don’t change or threaten yours. There’s room for all of us.
Hating me will not change me; it will change you–from the loving, happy person you were created to be. Be love. Be happiness. Be you. These are among the things my mother taught me, and now I live her dream.
Need help living your dream?
Nance L. Schick, Esq., is an employment attorney, ethno-religious mediator, conflict resolution coach, and diversity trainer based in New York City. She keeps managers and small business owners out of court and builds their conflict resolution skills so everyone has a better work experience. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution, and an award-winning entrepreneur acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018, 2019 & 2020), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards).