Big changes on the horizon: I’m moving to Charlotte to work for a great law firm, in two weeks! Of course, this means I’m leaving a great law firm, working for my dad, in Goldsboro, the town that raised me and to which I returned wholeheartedly.
Thomas Wolfe said “You can’t go home again.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you can and I did. What a rewarding adventure to practice law with my father and to watch my hometown blossom before my eyes.
You can imagine the crocodile tears shed over leaving the close proximity of my parents, colleagues, friends and community, who opened their arms wide and welcomed me into their embrace.
Chasing Helen is about chasing yourself. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to chase Helen… right on into the City of Charlotte.
And guess what?? I’m taking you with me!
But before I go, I must first look back on almost three years working and living as a young professional in my hometown.
Here’s a random list of things I’ll miss:
Teaching boot camp at the YMCA and Brew Works.
Making people do lunges. Lots of lunges. And push ups.
Morning runs with Sallie and waving at our dads walking together.
The most chill Supper Club ever.
Late afternoon walks through downtown.
Lunch on back porch with Mom.
Jay’s sushi (cucumber salad + rainbow roll <3).
My little house.
Neighbors dropping by unexpectedly.
Meeting friends for weeknight drinks at Ed’s.
Young Lawyers’ Happy hours at Well Travelled .
Living 50 yards from my 95 year old Great Aunt Aggie.
Attending my mother’s various performing arts events in the middle of the week.
Thursday nights with William Street Youth Movement kids @ Bethel Church.
The ease of public parking.
Seeing my dad every single weekday.
The cost of living.
Riding my bike to get Thai Garden take out.
Walking into a downtown restaurant or bar and knowing 95% of the room.
Friendly faces at the courthouse.
Chamber Board Meeting lunches (Zaxby’s grilled chicken salads <3).
Police officers who check on my house when I’m out of town.
Bumping into my dad at Food Lion.
And here are a few favorite memories:
Sworn in as a North Carolina attorney in the same courtroom where my dad was sworn in almost 50 years ago. Dad introduced me to the court, Mom held the Bible, Judge-Cousin-Runner-Coach Allen Baddour presided. Brother and Sis-in-law were close by.
Wayne County Dancing with the Stars. This event raised money for Wayne County Education Network. I danced with the beautiful, talented kids from Artistic Dance Academy, the studio where I grew up dancing for over 15 years. Wonderful to reconnect with my dance teacher, Patricia Warren and her daughter, Tara, who taught me how to be the best hip-hop version of Peach from Mario Brothers this County has ever seen! AND I got to wear high tops, so.
Father of the Bride (Fundraiser for Downtown Goldsboro)
If you don’t already know, my mom is a character in this world. Because of her, I’m comfortable in my own skin, unafraid of my loud voice and big laugh. She’s imparted her love of the performing arts on me, and she gave me the opportunity to play the role of Kay in Father of the Bride, alongside another great mentor, Geoff Hulse, who played my father. Mom, as the wedding planner, stole the show, of course. My mother is an incredible writer. She taught me at an early age that if you can write well, you can do anything. She’s a deep thinker. A hard worker. A cat lover. Margaret Boothe Baddour is a hoot. A real hoot. Guess I’ll have to teach her how to Facetime now.
Then there’s my dad. My boss, mentor and confidant. Coach Dean Smith used to tell his players, after they made a basket, to point to the person who passed the ball. His philosophy was that we should look to the past and thank the person who set up that success. As I approach the first crossroads of my legal career, motivated to look forward, plan for the future, dream big, I know that I must first look to the past. So, on this Father’s Day Weekend, I point to the person who set up my success.
There’s always been a special bond between us. Dad was 46 years old when I was born. Two sons, one on the way to college and the other in high school, he pretty much started all over again with me. I’ve watched him advocate for others my entire life, which ultimately led me to become a lawyer. In middle school, I used to wake up at 6 a.m. on schooldays just so I could jog with Dad and his friend Jack, which ultimately led me to become a runner. Dad’s taught me more than I can write here. But a few of my favorites include how to wake up before sunrise, drink black coffee, talk to a jury and drive with one hand. (Although nowadays he wants me to drive with both hands). Sometimes you do something or help someone for no other reason than “it’s the right thing to do.” Thanks, Dad, for teaching me by example, that most important lesson.
I’ll miss running past my dad and his walking crew in the mornings. I’ll miss seeing him sitting in his office chair with a dictaphone in hand and stack of papers on his lap. I’ll miss calling him “Phil” at the office, in an attempt to keep it professional, and calling him “Dad” in the next breath. I’ll miss coming over for dinner during the week. I’ll miss telling people I’m his associate.
But you know what? You’ve got to keep chasing yourself. This is a career move. It’s a life move. I’m so excited to join the law firm, Charles Monnett & Associates, excited to gain new friends and learn about a new city. It’s also an opportunity to bring YOU new running stories, workouts and inspirational people I meet along the way. After all, my favorite way to see a city is inside a pair of running shoes.
Thank you for reading. Thank you, Goldsboro. You’ve given me more than you know. Cheers, to small towns making big comebacks in Eastern North Carolina. Extreme gratitude and excitement for this new career opportunity and city.
And to the City of Charlotte, I’m coming for you.