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Transition, Work, And Motherhood: A Funeral, The Lake, Return Of A Repentant Daughter


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. 
November 5, 2018

My recent past has not been easy, but these events have deepened my heart in a way nothing else could.

Yesterday was the funeral of my cousin. She was a wife and beloved mother of two beautiful girls. She died of cancer.

Over the weekend, my daughter was home from college. We had lunch on Treasure Island and dinner at the club. We drove to Tahoe with friends and stayed up until 2 a.m. talking. She now has perspective on her teen years and did a good deal of apologizing for her antics. We laughed, we cried, and finally fell asleep.

We woke to the most perfect clear and crisp autumn day. I made breakfast. We went to the village and then walked the dog along lake.

I’ve not been to the Tahoe house since Labor Day and it was clear it needed some attention. I scoured the downstairs bathroom, stripped the bunk beds and did four loads of laundry. I mopped the kitchen floor. Conditioned the leather chairs, and cleaned the windows that overlook the sunny meadow. The next day, I drove home and cooked everyone dinner.

As a mother there is always so much to do. Recently, I’ve enjoyed more freedom to work on my company and my writing. To read, think and plan. It’s been a joy to have time for myself, but love is a privilege and the years I spent tending to my family an investment in my future. Now, the unconditional love that comes back to me is often overwhelming.

As the next chapter unfolds I’ll be doing less cooking, less laundry, less driving, but the love remains. It’s not lost on me that my devotion is a privilege denied to many.

Sydney Chaney Thomas 


  1. Club membership. Tahoe house. “Repentant” daughter. I must not be your target audience as I find it difficult to relate, although maybe you write this column for yourself. I do have a club membership at the supermercado (on a lark), and, I do still have hope for my growing daughter, but that said…The do-all driving, cooking, cleaning, laundering thing sounds almost manic. I understand the giving part. MY mother taught me that by example, but culturally, from my perspective the returning daughter ought to be sharing duty in these calorie burning activities as an adult bonding exercise. Or no? Will you always make her bed and cook her dinner?

    • Perhaps you should pen a “Mr. Mom” column: “My Journey to the Supermercado, No Club For Me, Mac and Cheese for Dinner and an Unrepentant Daughter.” Look forward to reading about your experiences.

    • I’m a very fortunate person. I’ve worked hard for everything I have and it’s nice for my daughters to have their traditions since the death of their father in 2016. As the column is about transition I am awaiting my future and what that will bring.

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