Published on May 3, 2021
I recently had a wonderful conversation with one of Nashville’s creative power couples, Curtis and Desmond Child. We talked about mothers and sons, family legacies, advocacy, and creativity.
I like to joke that whether or not you know Desmond, he provided half the soundtrack to your life: “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “Dude Looks Like A Lady,” “I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You,” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca” are just some of his hits. In addition to their creative careers, Desmond and Curtis (an actor and producer) are raising two sons together.
As we talked about their lives, and the new perspective they have as fathers, much of the discussion circled back to their mothers…their impact, and the new ways in which they are still inspired by them.
Desmond’s mother died several years ago, but their relationship is “still getting better.” Working on his own memoir while putting together a book of her poetry is connecting him to her as a creative in her own right. He listens as she talks through her poems and the personal notes she wrote in the margins of her notebooks. “In a way I got to live her dream. Handing off from one generation to another is what weaves humanity together. You are the result of all that came before you, and that feels fulfilling. Having her legacy (as a creative person) makes me feel like I wasn’t just a mistake; I was born for a reason.”
“Having her legacy (as a creative person) makes me feel like I wasn’t just a mistake; I was born for a reason.”
Curtis is also coming to respect his mother in new ways. A deeply religious woman from a conservative Midwestern town, she struggled when Curtis first came out. In the end, she made peace with her love for her son and the values of equality she had always taught him. Today, she is a leader in her church and community as an ally and advocate for the LGBT community.
“I am so proud of my mom!” Curtis says. He’s raising his sons on the values he learned from her and wants to see more of in the world: “Love, empathy, accountability, and kindness.”
If you are missing your own mother this year, please join our special Mother’s Day Grief Center workshop on May 8.