After more than five years of working as a paralegal, one day, I decided to go to law school. I did not know how I was going to do it or what I had to do to make this happen, all I knew is that I was going to take a leap of faith and jump! As I began the journey in Fall of 2012, there were many times, I felt defeated, devastated, exhausted, and unable to give anymore of myself, yet somehow I persevered. The most memorable moment was the day I decided to quit law school. I had started attending law school in a part time evening program that would allow me to continue to work full time. My week days consisted of waking up at 6am everyday, dressing and preparing my three boys ages, 12, 9 and 6 for school everyday. Later, the commute to downtown Miami to my full time job as a paralegal in a boutique law firm would follow. My schedule was from 9am through 5pm. Thereafter I would drive North 30 miles into a neighboring county to attend law school from 6pm to 10pm at night. I would then return home only to begin again. During one of these days, I was at the end of my rope. I felt I could no longer give anymore of myself. I was empty, tired, overextended in every way possible. On this night, I decided to quit law school. I drove home in tears, devastated to be in this position and to feel this way. What was I doing with my life? Taking time from my kids and family, taking out student loans to pay for law school, wasting needed resources and feeling drained everyday of my life. It no longer made sense to continue in this path. Drowning in tears and driving through the dark highway, I came to peace with this decision. It was ok to fail and quit law school as it would have been worse to not have tried at all.
What happened in the next moments was unexpected. As I arrived home in tears and bid farewell to the babysitter watching my boys that night, I lay down my purse and heavy books, took off my heels and walked into my room, finally at peace, away from the noise of the world. I was perplexed as I looked at the wall next to my bed. There were various pieces of paper on the wall with writing on them. Confused as to what this could be, I looked closer. What I found brought even more tears to my eyes, but strength to my soul. The wall was filled with writings by my 9 year old son, middle child. The first writing said “Be the Change you with to be – Gahndi.” The second writing said “Heros are Not Forgotten Legends never Die – Babe Ruth.” The last piece of paper was a list of goals I had written myself. The last goal written on the bottom of that list was “Finish law school.” There was something different about this list, at the bottom there was an added message from my son, which read “Keep Going MA, love You From: Chris J.” The tears took over and there I was overwhelmed with emotion. The day I had made up my mind to quit and move on from law school, was the day I was faced with this message to keep on keeping on. There was no doubt in my mind that this message was heaven sent from greater powers. What would compel a nine year old to paste writings on a wall for his mom on that very day? Only a greater power could do that. In that moment, I knew that despite the turmoil, despite the exhaustion, I had to keep going, keep going to fulfill my purpose and end goal and that is what I did. Today, I am a practicing attorney, and I owe it in great part to my son.
The writings from my son. I will cherish these always and forever for they made me who I am today and continue to become.
As a way of giving back and helping single moms in this same position, this New Year, we are launching the "Moms in Law School Program" campaign through the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Children First Foundation USA, to provide scholarships to single moms in Florida law schools to help pay for tuition, books, living expenses, and child care. The application period will open in August 2018 and awards will be made by a selection committee in January 2019. Make a DONATION by clicking here.