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Transition, Work & Motherhood: College Daze, Turned Pages And Books Left To Read


Ed: Sydney Chaney Thomas is a Moraga-based writer and businesswoman with three books to her name, all currently available on Amazon. She is also co-founder of a sustainable sailing apparel company called Ocean SF, and operates a nonprofit that works to reduce plastic waste called the The Trident Project.

Sydney teaches entrepreneurial marketing at UC Berkeley in their International Diploma Program and, in addition to this column, she writes a popular lifestyle blog, which can be found at sydneychaneythomas.com.


Transition, Work & Motherhood
Moraga, Calif. 
September 6, 2018

The cool night air in Tahoe over the weekend alerted me to the changing seasons. I went home, packed up, and now I sit in a hotel room in Los Angeles, California. I’m here to drop my daughter off at college.

On my last night with my daughter she told me I was the love of her life. I think there are some unusually companionable mother-daughter pairs and we are among them.

My younger daughter and I have a similar relationship, but together we are more like water. We rarely disagree and she infuses even the most mundane situation with her charming and unusual sense of humor. My older daughter and I are fire and ice. We test each other. We debate. Then, come back together stronger than before. Her teenage years were difficult, but I can already see in her the woman she will become. Strong, intelligent and confident, I can’t imagine what she will do. I know the experiences of my own life limit my vision for her. She will do things that I don’t now know exist.

Recently, I’ve been very thankful for the women who have shaped me. My stunning mother Joan, and my grandmother Nellie Cody Burke. I can now appreciate their courage, their deep love, and the lessons they imparted as I too have now raised a daughter.

I strolled through the bookstore on campus before I left. The shelves were lined with so many books that I have already read, but many more are left to read. There is always so much more to learn.

After checking out, the love of my life hugged me in the warm sunshine, and I turned and walked away. It seems impossible that I could leave someone I love so much behind. Yet, it is necessary that we both turn the crisp white page to a new chapter.

Sydney Chaney Thomas


  1. Not fair. thinking of my own two girls now – one starting a new job (thank goodness) and the other still in school. Does anyone have a tissue?

    • It’s hard to let go, I am missing my daughter so much. I was a little tearful at yoga yesterday talking about it. At the same time I’m so excited for our futures and my next chapter.

    • I hope so! I’m looking forward to the mother-daughter friendship as they mature. I loved having Pari home this summer. We had a ton of fun.

  2. Yes. My junior jet pilot turned into a teacher. The wannabe pro QB is studying medicine. Life is a thrill and dreams change quickly! Good luck with your brood!

    • Thank you! I’m so excited to see the path they will choose. I also love watching all the Moraga kids I’ve known since the sandbox make their way in the world.

  3. Children can be mirrors of ourselves. We look at them and it can be like looking into our souls.

    • I love this idea. Both my girls look like me and it can be be very eerie. Sometimes I look at photos and take a double take. I’m hoping they will mirror my best qualities.

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