Last Tuesday, our contributing writer and friend, LaShaun Wallace, passed away after a brief bout with cancer.
First and foremost, we have to say that LaShaun was an amazing mom. She poured her heart and soul into her kids. But on top of that, she was an amazing human. And during her short life, she made quite the impact on the people she encountered. She taught us many life lessons:
Take the Trip
This one might sound cliche, but to her and her husband, Mike, this truly was a creed they lived by. They traveled with kids and without kids. She was constantly buying airline tickets, train tickets, and asking for road trip recommendations. She didn't hesitate to leave her kids behind either for some much needed adult-only adventures. We might not get as many travel days as we think, so don't postpone that much needed vacation. Take the Trip!
Invest in your City
LaShaun loved Memphis and felt a draw to support our city's downtown parks. The area of town she lived in had slowly started revitalizing and she was a loud voice in promoting the growth of our downtown parks and cleaning up the river front. No matter where you live, there's a responsibility to help maintain and keep our communities beautiful.
Dive into Relationships
When LaShaun first moved to Memphis, she didn't wait around for women to befriend her. She went and put herself out there. She applied and became a writing contributor for the Memphis Mom Collective (formerly Memphis Moms Blog). She joined a black girls run club. She was active in her kids' schools and often volunteered in the classroom and read to students. She was an active member of the Junior League of Memphis and in fact, won an award this past year through the organization. In a nutshell, she dove into finding mom friends, athletic friends, serving friends, and community friends that represented all areas of her life.
Change a Life, One at a Time
Many times we think big picture --how can we "change the world"? Well, LaShaun thought small, and focused on helping one person at a time. Specifically one kid at a time. She and her husband founded a nonprofit called Duffels4Kids, providing duffel bags and items of need to kids in the foster care system. She had a heart for kids moving from household to household, and didn't want them to be embarrassed by carrying all their things in a garbage bag. Their organization has now provided hundreds of duffel bags to kids in the foster care system, not only fulfilling a physical need, but also giving them the gift of integrity and pride. We've learned we need to focus on one life at a time and do what we can.
Put Marriage First
We talked about how great LaShaun was at being a mom, but where she really excelled was being a wife. To her, putting Mike first, before the kids, was priority number one. Marriages take work, and LaShaun knew that at the end of the day, they only have each other. She was so proud of her husband, his accomplishments, and how great of a dad he was. As any marriage can attest, it's hard work. But when speaking to her friends about Mike, she only used positive words. We never heard her complain about him or tear him down.
It's Never too Late to Exercise
LaShaun laughed a lot when she'd talk about her running goals. We remember when she first announced, "I'm going to become a runner!" No one tried to talk her out of it, because we knew if LaShaun said she was going to do something, she was. And lo and behold, she became a runner! She joined a community run club, had accountability partners, tracked her runs on her apps, and cajoled her kids to occasionally join her. She put in the miles. Literally. She then signed up for her first race, and a beast was created! She did more and more races. Started winning races in her age group! Then she even traveled outside of the country for a giant race series (see item #1). She became a runner. And showed the world it's never too late to exercise.
We All have Love to Spare
When we add kids to our household, many moms feel like, "How can I possibly love another as much as I love this child?" And then, bam! We get a baby or a child joins our family and our heart explodes even bigger. And we realize we have the capacity to love many people, all the time. LaShaun and her husband both fostered and adopted children. And through both experiences, would tell anyone who listened, you do have the ability to love more kids. We all have love to spare and it's essential we share it!
This week, on the Memphis Mom Collective we will be re-sharing some of LaShaun's posts and remembering what an amazing mom, wife, and friend she was.