Sometimes in life, we need a little push to get where we’re going.
This is exactly how I got where I am today, and I owe much of my success to my mother. Reflections of my mother and a Scott Hamilton interview are the impetus for this blog post.
What do Skating and Law School Have in Common?
Recently a Scott Hamilton interview played on Channel 11. The Olympian and gold medalist explained that when he was young, he wasn’t a great skater. He wasn’t committed to the sport, but his mother encouraged him to keep at it. His mother passed just before his first major win.
Watching this interview, I felt a pang of resonance. Before finding success in real estate law, I worked my way through four years of law school after finding that teaching High School English did not provide any fulfillment. . While I had a passion for education, I wasn’t happy there, and my mom encouraged me to go to law school. Education was always important to my mother as it is something that no one can take away from you.
Losing Focus and Losing My Mom
During my last year of law school, my mother got sick. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer while I was in my final year. There was no chance for a cure, and my mother had six months between her diagnosis and death.
The thought of losing Mom lingered throughout mid-year finals and I entered the last semester of my education knowing she would die. Every few days over the final six weeks of her life my sister and I received a phone call to come to the hospital to say our goodbyes. We’d arrive to a smiling mom sitting up in bed with a cheery greeting. It was a grueling six weeks.
A Mock Trial and a Real Goodbye
During my last year, we conducted a mock trial in law school. This sticks with me because it was one of the few wins I was able to share with my mom. There were 10 prosecution teams and 10 defense teams. I was on one of only three teams that won for the plaintiff (even though one of our opposing counsel, representing the defendant, was eight months pregnant).
It was a big deal, and I got to share that with my mom. It was a profound moment, because we both realized I wouldn’t be sharing any more wins with her.
On her final day, she sent us home from the hospital, because she didn’t want us there to watch her go. Law school finals were the next month, leaving me with little space to grieve.
My mom passed in April, and I graduated in June.
I had to take the bar immediately because I didn’t have the funds to support myself without work. I didn’t know what else to do. I just kept thinking I needed to prove she was right. I needed to finish this.
40 years later, I have a list of wins a mile long. I tell people all the time the story of my mother passing just two months before my law school graduation. The timing is powerful. It made each of my successes an opportunity to show she was right.
Thank you for all those years of encouragement, Mom. I wouldn’t be here without you. I know Scott Hamilton felt the same way about his mother and his successes.