Mottley Law Firm February 2019


THE MOTTLEY CREW REVIEW | (804) 823-2011


— time that I hoped would blunt the feeling of incompleteness I’d had last summer. That’s when I decided to take him on a little father-son field trip. Andrew is an Eagle Scout and has always loved the outdoors just like his dad. That was a big part of our bonding when he grew up. So I decided that no better way to reconnect existed than to spend a day outdoors with him. We took a trip to the site of his Eagle Scout project — the Cumberland Marsh nature preserve on the Pamunkey River. Two years ago, Andrew built an informational kiosk at one of the trailheads, but we’d never gotten around to hanging the plaque with his name on it. We picked a cold January morning to do the job. We caught up with each other during the drive, stopped for breakfast, talked about life, laughed, and reminisced about some of our adventures. We hung the plaque and smiled for a picture. The picture tells a different story than what happened the day he finished building the kiosk. The old picture shows the two of us drenched in sweat from the Virginia heat, cheesing from ear to ear over what we’d made together. The picture from our recent trip features those same big smiles, but they’re different now — changed from a little time apart, with slightly different causes. I wanted to tell Andrew so many things in person when he came back. We talked through how his first semester went and how his long-term interests were developing. I mainly listened, but I sensed a little bit of apprehension about possible future paths. The biggest concept I tried to impress on him was first, to dream big dreams that line up with his passions and second, to take small steps each day in the direction of reaching those dreams. I slid a gift across the table at breakfast — “The

In August we sent our first, Andrew, off to the University of South Carolina to begin his college career. It was a flurry of activity getting him packed up and moved out, not to mention all the other preparation that goes into sending a kid to college these days. The day had been circled on my calendar for months, but it came way too fast. I felt so many loose ends dangling — things not said, things not done. I guess that’s a normal emotion for a dad when his son leaves. Andrew briefly came home for Hurricane Florence and Thanksgiving, but we barely saw him on those short visits. Winter break was a different story: a full month back home with Mom and Dad. We were elated to have him back, but after the hugs and the catching up, we realized some things had shifted for all of us. For starters, we had gotten kind of used to him being away. My sleep patterns greatly improved while he was away, but when he was back in the house, I was back to the old “half-sleep” routine, staying up until I knew he was home safe each night. Of course the PS4 made its return. With it came the occasional “Yes!” and “Come on!” from the den at 2 a.m. I’ll never get used to that. Pretty soon, Tricia and I were back in the groove with Andrew in the house. But, as with the summer months, I could feel time racing toward his departure date. I felt the need to carve out time for the two of us before he left

Sending Andrew off to college

Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. This excellent book is all about that approach to life. I’m a big believer in giving yourself permission to dream big and follow your passions. Youngsters don’t need to rush it. When you’re 19, it’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. It’s okay to not have the foggiest idea! As parents or teachers, I think we’re good at telling this bit of wisdom to our kids, but I’m not convinced we’re good at demonstrating we believe it ourselves. We need to show them it’s okay to be confused, scared, and intimidated — even when you’re 47. The only thing you need to do is get loose, free yourself to dream big, and take small, disciplined steps toward reaching your dreams each day. Some people may think that’s not a “realistic” plan. In my experience, it’s the most realistic plan of all. Compare that with giving a kid the impression that he or she needs to “figure it out” when they’re filling out their college applications or selecting a college major — now that’s unrealistic! A youngster’s outlook will change and their passions will shift, just like ours did. That’s okay, so long as they’re working toward a bigger purpose for their life. And most importantly, they should always know it’s okay to come home . -Kevin W. Mottley

July 2017 when we built the kiosk at the nature preserve | 1

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