Archive for October, 2012

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Facebook: Family Losses and Gains

October 30, 2012

During the time that I was doing a lot of traveling for work, others in my life were dealing with major issues. Arresting issues.  Issues that made me stop in the airport, while trying to run between connections, and find the wall to support myself to breathe and to cry. And to cry.

First:

Last spring, I was thrown off by a facebook post by an old friend from high school (we’re the class of 1990, FYI) where she said that she took her oldest son (approx 2 years older than Em – i.e., 17 yo) to the doctor for what they saw as Swimmer’s Ear.

The Swimmer’s Ear was treated, the doctor asked extra questions, the son said he’d been feeling off.  The doctor ordered tests.

Leukemia.

Just . . . inconceivable.

My high school classmate shared her journey via a facebook page from the start.  There was a point where I told a local friend about the page and she thought “so public! that can’t be right!” and I said, “no, she is doing this so well, doing such a good job.”  And it’s true.

The journey was long, and it wasn’t easy.  There were 4 rounds of chemo, each one 29 days.  After the third, he was cancer-free.  It was amazing.  He was a fighter, he was amazing.  There were so many stories of his strength, his perseverance, his grace.

Despite the remission, he needed the 4th round to ensure that the cancer was truly gone.

I don’t know for sure how far in, but it felt like a very little bit into the 4th round, Tucker started to have some medical issues.  Not cancer-related, but infections and fevers and nausea.

it didn’t stop.  Time was odd to me, as an observer.  I’m not sure I realized, as I had trials and arbitrations and hearings and deadlines and briefs, that 6 weeks had passed, and Tucker was still in the ICU.

I think it was October 8, maybe the 9th.  It was around the Columbus Day when I was walking through the airport and received the news that Tucker didn’t make it.

I sobbed.  I was in the airport in my suit with my fancy lawyer-rolling bag, and I just stopped walking and I just cried.

I still cry.  At first it was every day.  Now it’s at least once a week.

It’s just . . . he went in for swimmer’s ear.  He was vibrant, he was connected, he was talented.

I have a couple of those.

And my classmate!  A mom.  She was so close with her son, so dedicated.  So – in love.

It hurt so much.  For them so much more than the tiny trickle down that hurt me, and honestly?  It hurt me a lot.  My classmate and her family are continuing with their amazing attitudes and their love of Tucker.  But without curling up in a ball and becoming absent from life.  I can’t imagine resisting that temptation.

I remain devastated.

Second:

I have another high school classmate.  We became friends after I had a social upheaval in my junior year, and she was just so very accepting and kind.  So widely beloved, and just an amazing person.

It was fun to reconnect with her on Facebook.  I think we both had fun.  We played games and traded witty comments.

She went to Ethiopia.  I think two years ago.  She worked in orphanages.

This year, she shared that she was adopting a baby she met in the orphanage.  The baby was wee when she met her in 2010 (I think), but continued to grow as my friend went through the application process.  She made the situation public this summer, just before she was heading to pass court in Ethiopia.  She was adopting this baby-girl.

I watched the process through a trip to see the baby-girl, seeing the baby-girl’s ambivalence at these near-strangers {i.e., parents} who had traveled oh-so-far to spend time with her.

I think that trip was in August. And then came a waiting-game.  It was so painful.  To watch my friend prep her daughter’s room, to buy her daughter clothes, to see her other children (ages 7 through 13, I think) prepare for their sister’s arrival (and conduct amazing, fantastic, effective fundraisers to help pay for the airfare to fetch their baby-sister) – but yet have to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  For the ok.  For the passport.  For the medical exam.  And the baby-girl’s 3rd birthday (3rd birthday!!) was approaching.  But the waiting continued.

She’s there.  Right now.  The baby-girl is coming home.

_________________________________

 

I cry a lot, lately.  Some is sad, some is happy.  But I just feel like there’s so much going on.  I just — I just love.  And I want to find more ways to let people know that.  The people who are in my immediate life, and in my extended life.

 

 

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Those Dreaded Teen Years

October 23, 2012

When my girls found out that they made the musical, they both called me.

Em is 16.  Jules is 14.

And I was their first phone call.

This makes me so happy.

When I tell people that I have a 14 and 16 year old, they wince.  They recoil.  “Oh, you poor thing,” they say.  And I always say, “no, it’s good!”

And it really is so good.

There’s no doubt that they’re more independent than they were when they were smaller.  Our relationship is definitely different.  But they do not have an attitude with me.  They are not rebellious.  Both of them still cuddle up with me, and they tell me about their days.  They talk and talk and talk about things that happened in class, what went on in volleyball, how things are going in crew.  They talk to me about decisions they need to make, challenges they face.

They don’t talk to me so much about their social lives.  They don’t tell me kid-gossip (except occasional HUGE things).  Which is fine.  I’m not a teenager.  I don’t need to know who is dating who and who yelled at who, etc.

And it’s not just me.  They are this way with David, and they are this way with each other.  Emma was so happy to tell her sister the news about the musical, and they are both so happy to be in it together.

The other day, Em’s class went on a field trip, and ended up in a cannoli shop (very educational, I know).  I knew that cannolis are one of J’s favorite desserts, but when Em texted me to say “guess what I’m doing!”  I was in the middle of something, so responded with a “that’s so cool!” or something like that, but didn’t go on to remind her about her sister.  But a minute later, Em texted me a picture of the cannoli to-go box with the note, “I got some for J!”  And then she carried that damned box around for the next hour or so, just so that her sister could have her favorite treat.

This school year has been pretty intense for both girls, which has contributed to the time we all spend together and at home.  When Em was a freshman, it was a big transition, but the school work was just so-so.  For J, the school work has been a HUGE step up  from 8th grade (a welcome huge step up, in my opinion).  And Em has AP classes, and they both have sports.  The result has been a lot less social time on weekends.  In fact, a couple weekends ago, J came to me very upset because she kept telling a close friend “no” to requests to hang out, and she felt bad.  But she had homework, and tests to study for and auditions to prep for, and she really didn’t feel that she could hang out.

I know I still have years to go, and things may fall apart.  But every day I am grateful that my girls are going through these teen years without some of the issues that I know are out there.  Issues I had as a teen.

Geez, when I was a teen . . . I honestly used to bait my mother with my attitude and my snarling remarks to try and force her to blow up at me.  I liked having that control.  Now – to be fair – my mother and I were locked in power struggles over freedom and other issues in a way that my girls and I have not been.  I didn’t do just for fun.  I did it in response to being forcefully limited in friendships and associations based on religion.

And even without that kind of extreme (or something even more extreme), I know there are a lot of teens who are just basically disengaged.

And I’m very grateful.

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Drama on the Home Front

October 22, 2012

In some ways, I feel like I would have used this as a post title in the past.  I know I’ve used similar.

The nutshell:  In elementary/middle school (my girls were in a K-8 school), my kids were in plays.  And they were successful.  They had lead roles.  Because they enjoyed it and did well, I decided that it would be the way I gave back to the school.  So in my last year of law school, I offered to be a “parent volunteer coordinator.”  By the end of that year, I was a producer.

One of the best experiences of my life.

And I did that, and got to know kids and parents and processes.   I felt like what I learned as a producer informed my experiences as a lawyer.  I learned how to deal with people, how to deal with my own failings, how to rein myself in, how to deal with people, how to convince people to do things they *really* didn’t want to do.

And my girls kept thriving.  They got great roles, they enjoyed the social aspect, they had self-confidence.

Then Emma got to the high school and … well.  They didn’t cast her in any shows.  She did other things, she was resilient.  her sister – still back in the K-8 school – kept getting lead roles.

Then it was Juliette’s turn to go to the high school.  She ended her 8th grade year as the lead in Anything Goes, and she was strong in that role.

I was worried.   It might be bad to admit that I was worried that after Em was rejected for 2 years that Jules would get in to the show, and Em would feel deflated.  Now, Emma has been just — amazing.  She hasn’t been shattered by the decisions not to let her in.  She’s shrugged and said, “I just wasn’t a good fit.”  Last year, she was sad. But she spent the summer doing different acting things, and she has been really strong with crew, and she’s been fine.

But as auditions came up, it was clear that Emma wanted in.  Juliette also wanted in, but after having seen her sister struggle to get in for 2 years, she wasn’t so confident.  She was looking at the Freshman Play as her better chance.

I was really unhappy that auditions took place during my week of travel.  I stayed in touch via phone and text, but I hated being gone.  With auditions on top of sports, the girls were out of the house until 8 and 8:30 p.m., and then got home to eat dinner and do homework.  One one of the audition days, David told me that J was up until 12:30, and E until 2 a.m.

After Freshman Play auditions, J found out pretty quickly that she got a callback.  She was so very excited, and really energized.

A couple days after musical auditions, both girls found out they did NOT get call backs.  Jules wasn’t too surprised, Emma was looking at the bright side (“now I can focus on crew!”).  Emma also said, “well, the policy is that no callback doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a part.”  But I said that to her last year when she didn’t get a call back, and she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  (Hmpf.)

Then Jules went to the Freshman play callback, and felt like it went really well.

I got home Friday night, and Jules was a ball of nerves starting then and through the weekend.  “What if I don’t get in?  I really want to do the play! What if I don’t get in?  I might not get in.”

I was encouraging.  Reminded her of her past successes.  Told her I really thought she’d get in.

Monday rolled around.

Mouse didn’t get in.  She texted me, and said she was really sad.  Friends of hers did get in, and she didn’t, and the musical callbacks were the following day, and everyone was a buzz, and she had nothing.

When we were all home that evening, she just dissolved.  She cried (she doesn’t do that so often).  She was very, very sad.  I gave her hugs and let her sit on my lap (which is hard, considering I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’8.5″).  I wiped her tears, and held my tongue when I thought things like, “it’s good to learn how to do deal with disappointment.” and “well, we still really don’t know about the musical.”  I just let her cry and told her I knew that she was very, very sad.

That was Monday night.

Tuesday a.m., she had the puffiest eyes in the world.  She went to school, still a little glum.

I started to get nervous on Wednesday because she was still glum, even a little snippy.  I didn’t want to see her get into a funk.  We started talking about her doing Volleyball on a private “club” team this winter, since she didn’t have a sport or drama.  She was game, and I thought we’d be okay.

Thursday was my big arbitration, as I mentioned.  I debriefed with colleagues, and made my way to the T station with a friend.  As I was descending the escalator at 6:15, my phone rang.  It was Emma.  She never calls, always texts.  A friend of mine recently told me that HER daughter was crossing the street and got HIT BY A CAR.  So I freaked out.  I answered the phone with “are you okay?!”  First there was nothing on the other end.  Then some yelling.  I got even more nervous, and said again, “are you okay??”  My friend was getting nervous.

“O MY GOD, MOM! THE CAST LIST IS UP AND ALKJKLJHOUWINBEOJN”

“Wait, Emma, what?!?”

“The cast list!  For the musical!  It’s up, and Juliette and I are BOTH ON IT!!!”

I then came back with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” and then had to give my friend a thumb’s up, and she was very nervous that my daughter was dying or something.

So I asked Em if she knew if Jules knew, and she said no – Jules was at Volleyball. It was 6:35 then, and we thought Juliette was a volleyball practice, there at the school.  So Emma decided to stay at the school and be there when volleyball ended so she could be the one to tell her sister the news.

I went underground, and chatted with my friend, grinning like mad.  This was such great news for my girls.  It was so great for Em, after years of trying and being told no, and it was great for Jules to be so happy and so rewarded after such a low thinking she hadn’t made either show.

I got back above ground at 6:50, and my phone INSTANTLY rang.

“MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!!”  It was Jules. But it wasn’t 7, so I didn’t know if Em had gone into the practice and interrupted, or what?

No.  Jules was at an away game.  Poor Emma was sitting there outside the gym waiting and doing her homework on the floor for NO REASON.  Juliette was on the bus, and a friend texted and told her “The cast list is out!  You are on it!”  And she [again] cried with happiness.  Then she called me.

I ended up texting Em to tell her that J found out.  She knew already, but asked, “please don’t tell Davey?”  So I quick texted David and said, “can you please play dumb with Emma?”  Because OF COURSE I told him the moment I found out!  But she was bummed that she missed telling her sister.

So I got home that night to 2 girls that were just exploding with happiness, and me on a huge high after the positive arbitration, and . . . wow.

Such a happy house.

 

 

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Roller Coaster

October 21, 2012

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been a roller coaster lately, and that remains the case. Let’s look at this week:

Monday:  I started my day ridiculously overwhelmed with an impossible list of things to do.  It was my first day in after a solid week in the Virgin Islands, getting home on Friday night at midnight, I rebelled over the weekend and did only about 10 hours of work, instead of 30, deciding to deal with what was left on Monday.  This is what was left:

  • Responding to no less than 3 outstanding motions on the trial (Virgin Islands) case;
  • Deciding whether or not to depose a major witness;
  • Preparing to defend my own client’s deposition – my first defense of a deposition;
  • coordinating affidavits and stipulations re: third party documents within the discovery deadline;
  • Preparing witnesses and witness outlines for a totally different case which I hadn’t looked at in a long time and in which I was running and arbitration on THURSDAY.
  • Making miscellaneous phone calls and follow up on the other 7 cases I’m on, after being gone for the entire previous week.

While working my way through this list, it became clear to me that on the trial case I had royally fucked up.  I missed a filing deadline on a motion.  My response had been due on Friday, and this was Monday.  Maybe in many circumstances this wouldn’t be such a big deal – you seek leave for a late filing, and that’s that.  But this particular case wasn’t going to allow for that without some real credibility issues, for reasons not to be going into here.

So I had a moment of feeling like my life was over, my job was over, and that I sucked.  In the end, I talked to the partner, he shrugged, we fixed it, and all was well.  (It helped that during the previous week I’d been working 20 hours a day in a place far away from home . . . it’s not like anyone thought I missed the deadline because I was playing tiddlywinks).

Tuesday.  I defended my client’s deposition.  Over the phone.  Everyone else was in the Virgin Islands, and I refused to go.  So I was likely nothing but a screechy “objection!” coming out of a box on a table.  But it went really well, and I really liked defending.  It put me in a good mood, and I liked that I finally could stop saying “I’ve never defended a deposition.”  Wheeee!!  I also then started to do some minor prep work on my arbitration.  I don’t think I yet understood just how much more I had to do, so I went home on the early side (i.e., 6:30).

Wednesday.  I started prepping for my arbitration, the one that was set for the next day.  By noon, I was freaked the fuck out at how much I had to do and how little time I had to do it in.  I had 6 witnesses.  I hadn’t prepped any of them.  I hadn’t drafted outlines.  I started prepping my main witness at 9, thinking we’d be done by noon, but instead we ended at 1:30, and that was because she had something else to do.  Another main witness was (get this) – the most senior partner in my firm.  Yep.  I had to put my boss on the stand.  Holy shit.

I finished with witness prep by 5, and then started typing up/finalizing outlines and marking exhibits and doing other prep.  I had dumped a huge copy job on my assistant at 3 p.m., and was so very grateful that she just made it happen.  I am very, very lucky.

During that prep, another senior partner came into the conference room – while I was prepping the Most Senior Partner – to say “did you hear?  We won that other arbitration!”  It was a case that was dryer than dry, and that he laid at my feet and said things like, “It’s your job to make sure that not even a period is out of place!” and then when I’d say, “well, did you read the other side’s brief?” he’d say, “uhhh, no.  I’m relying on you.”  And we won.  Most Senior Partner was impressed, and Other Senior Partner pointed at me and said, “it was her!”  Most Senior Partner said (after Other Senior Partner left the room) “Huh.  You’re getting a lot of experience here.”  I said “Yes, and I’m really loving it.”

I left the office that night at 11:15.  I got home at 11:45.  I don’t know if I slept, or if I instead just went through my witness examinations in my head all night.

Thursday.  I went in super-early (6:30) to finish prep, and to incorporate ideas from the night’s tossing and turning into my witness outlines.  My main witness and I met at 8 so we could run through her testimony.  She was nervous.  I was going to be conducting an arbitration with the most senior partner in my firm watching — I was nervous.  I didn’t finish with that prep until 9:30, and the arbitration started at 10.  So the appropriate thing was to get pissed at my assistant and bark at her (after her heroic efforts the day before) for daring to ask me about another case.  Ugh.

The arbitration went really, really well.  And it was kind of fun. (It helps that this particular arbitration was essentially a trial without rules.  I could ask what I wanted, use documents I wanted — whatever.  I hope it didn’t create bad habits.)

I got back to the office at 6 p.m., and had fun telling my peers about the day.  Then I turned into a bowl of jelly made out of exhaustion and headed home.

[my plan is to draft another post as soon as I’m done here, to talk about the amazingness on the home front that happened on my way home that night.  My girls rock.]

Friday.  I could have been more efficient.  I know that.  I had deadlines that day, and I met them.  But I also had deadlines on Monday, and I didn’t really start on that.   I had fun with people at work.  I chatted a lot.  I worked on other cases, despite the Monday deadline on the trial/Virgin Islands case.

I was also still on a huge high about the home front.  Did I say my girls rock?

Saturday.  I know.  Sad.  I worked all day on a motion for summary judgment, and I didn’t finish.  I had evening plans with friends from Big Firm that are bigger friendships than just that old job, and I wasn’t willing to let go of it.  So I wrote the partner and said, “you’re not getting this draft today, it will have to be tomorrow.”  I was tired and run down with my friends.  I was happy to see them, and the baby that comes with the package, and to catch up with them about what we’re all doing as we leave Big Firm and try to leave and hope to leave . . . but I was so tired.

Sunday.  Sadder.  I got home SO TIRED on Saturday night, and I still had to get up early on Sunday and go back to the office to finish this major motion and all of the accompanying documents. But when I went to leave the house, I realized I didn’t have my building i.d.  Because I rushed out so fast the day before in order to make it to my gathering with friends, I’d left it in the office.  I wasn’t sure I could even get into the office without it on the weekend, so I looked at getting onto Citrix, but I’d left the goddamned document open the day before, on the computer at work, so I couldn’t access it from home.

Fortunately, I got into the office.

And I worked until 4:30 and finished the motion and proof read it and sent it to the client and the partner, but I didn’t love the motion, and I was so tired, and I was mad that it was Sunday and I’d barely seen my family, and I’d hope David and I could go to a movie this weekend, and now it was too late, and I’m just SICK AND TIRED OF THIS.

But then the partner liked the motion, and it turned out no one was home all day (so I didn’t miss anything), and the work I have left to do is going quickly from the couch, so now I feel okay.

See?  A roller coaster.

Once I file this motion tomorrow, I really should have a reprieve from this insane schedule.

I was telling a colleague that I thought that I will be able to breathe after tomorrow, and she started looking at me funny.  We were in a room with all of the lawyers, but I didn’t know why she was looking at me with a weird look.  But she happens to be the lawyer in our firm who handles assignments.  She started pointing at another partner and telling me to SHUT UP.  Apparently, there was another case coming up . . . and I was one of the associates on the table as being assigned, but she’d told him I was too busy knowing what was going on in the past 2-3 weeks.  And now here I am saying, “I’m going to be so free as of Monday!!”

I shut up, and the new case went to someone else.

I am hoping that after tomorrow’s filing, I can take Tuesday off.  I have a call at 3 p.m., but I think that’s easy to do from home.

I love my job.  I love how much I’ve been able to do.  I have fun with it.  But can’t it be just a little bit spread out?  Do I have to have so much at once?  Arbitrations, depositions, deadlines, freak outs, dispositive motions, all within a week?

It’s hard.  But I still love my job.

And I miss my family.

And I miss breathing.

 

 

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The Holidays Are Coming! That means … visitation issues.

October 14, 2012

[I started drafting this last Monday – Columbus Day.  I didn’t finish, I guess.]

 

I should be packing for my trip.  But the dryer is running, and … I don’t wanna go.*  So I’ll write a post, instead.

Jules is now 5′ 8.5″.  She grew a half inch in the past week or so.  She comes into the room, and I look at her chest, because it’s where I expect her face to be.  But it’s not.  And she’s not done, yet.  I know she has more in her.  No wonder I can’t call her Mouse anymore (although, I do – in real life – call her that all the time).

She went for a quick prep-session today with a voice coach we know.  Neither of the girls had been to see her since the spring, but we were very surprised when we contacted her this month for help with some audition prep and she said, “I really want to help them, but just to let you know, I’m 40 weeks pregnant!”   Jules got very anxious.  “Can’t I go with Emma?  Do I have to go alone?  What if she has the baby while I’m there!!!???”  I tried to explain to her that first babies come sloooowwwww.  It wasn’t going to just squirt out between notes on the piano.  But she remained anxious.

And I’m not sure why she has these anxieties.  But she does.  Not only about babies being born instantaneously, but also about getting in an airplane.

So, here we are.  It’s October.  Jules is 14, and she’s a little more fierce than she used to be in her refusals to fly.  I really do acknowledge that this fear of flying is likely something deeper, but I found myself less than 2 months from this year’s Thanksgiving visit to the Middle of the Country and her NOT in therapy to explore why she’s really afraid to fly.  Maybe the Ex would just shrug if I told him that Mouse didn’t want to go because of her fear, and that Emma wouldn’t go without her sister.  But I think that the girls will be better served by having the opportunity for a relationship with their father.  And while J doesn’t really seem [again, with the need for therapy] to care if she ever sees him again, Em really wants to go, but ONLY with her sister.  So there’s this tension/conflict.

And I don’t want to test it.  I just don’t want to figure out what to do if one of them insists they’re NOT GOING.  So.

Well.

I mean, two years ago David and I went to New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  It was a great time; we loved exploring and tasting.  So — why not do the same in the Middle of the Country?

But then, since David is working now, it wasn’t a given that he could miss work on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  And Emma wanted to play a Powderpuff football game.  But there was no way we could leave at 5 or 6 pm on Weds. and get to the Middle of the Country (Hello, 18 hour drive) in time for them to even spend Thanksgiving with their father.

So – here’s the plan:

Jules and I take Wednesday off from work and school, and we get in the car.  Probably at 5 a.m.  We will spend that night in a motel somewhere in Indiana, and get on the road again the next morning by 7 a.m., the same time that David and Emma will get on a plane.  Jules and I will get to the airport at the same time that David and Emma land, and the Ex will meet us there.  He’ll take the girls, and David and I will drive to Chicago.

We have a couple of days there, including Thanksgiving day & dinner.  We have a huge list of things to do, and not enough time to do it in.  I’m hugely looking forward to it.

Unless, of course, things don’t go my way and I need to be in the Virgin Islands – again – on the Monday after Thanksgiving.  We are asking permission to attend a conference by phone, but we don’t know that will be granted.  Fingers crossed.

 

* Oh, yes, I am a roller coaster.  First I don’t want to go, then I’m excited to go, and now I don’t want to go.  I’m missing a lot this week, and I’m not happy about it.  I’ll be  in “airplane mode” while things will be heated in my case, and I’m not happy about it. It’s one thing to be nervous about my first deposition and my first mediation, and it’s a completely different thing to be worried about all of that on top of — do I have everything I need in my suitcase?  How many binders?  How many boxes of documents?  Will I have a printer?  It’s just too much.  TOO MUCH!  not to mention the other 4 cases that I’m active on and I will be GONE!!!  And – also – the real sadness – is the home life.  It’s a crazy week here, and I’m just —- missing it.  The girls are anxious, they have play auditions, games, meets, tests, quizzes — I want to be here.  I want to give them a hug and a kiss and tell them that they’re wonderful.  I don’t want to call them on the phone and tell them that they’re wonderful.  Bummer.

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Mid Life Crisis

October 5, 2012

It’s the last day of a very long week.  I’m so tired, I feel like my tissues are melting right off my bones.

I was telling a friend today that I wished hard work – my kind of hard work – burned calories. Then I could really work my ass off.

Drove Emma* to a voice lesson tonight, and we were chatting.  She told me that she was thinking about the fact that between school, crew and homework, her days are often longer than mine.  I told her that I was not minimizing the work or stress or commitment of doing a sport (i.e., a coach to answer to, no flexibility to skip without consequences), but I really wished exercise was built into my day like that. She actually understood.

Then I had her fill out a check for me to sign, to pay her voice teacher, and she told me a funny story about when she was in Manhattan this summer – with my credit card – and people would be thrown off when one of the many checks would come back from the split bill with MY name on it.  “Who is Suz?” they’d ask.  “Oh, that’s, um, me!” she would respond.

I said to her, “you know, it wouldn’t be so bad, being me.  I have a good life.”  I told her I like my job, my husband, my kids.  She said, “wouldn’t it be funny if you woke up on the day after your birthday and you changed your mind?  INSTANT mid-life crisis.”

Then I puzzled through that for a minute  (out loud) … I had my kids on the younger side, they’re getting older while I’m still young – I’ll have an empty nest at the age of 44!!!  Does that mean mid-life crisis comes sooner?  hits harder?

Her take was this:  mid-life crisis happens when people look at their lives when they hit 40 or 50 or whatever, and they think, “crap! I didn’t do anything I wanted to do!”  “But you, you’ve done everything you wanted to do.”

I liked that.  I like thinking that’s what I’ve shown her.  That she looks at her mom and she thinks “she’s happy; she did want she wanted to do.”

Including – in largest of parts – raised [almost] daughters that I can have fun conversations with, and who sit in the dark in the car even though they’re 3 minutes late for their lesson to finish a conversation.

Happy Friday.

 

 

 

*Yeah, I know.

h1

Virgin Islands, Wait! (And other streams of consciousness)

October 5, 2012

I had butterflies in my stomach all day today, while gearing up to head into the partner’s office to say, “YOU do the hearing on the motions, I have a trip planned.”

I felt better than I had when I first found out about our new dates, and I also had a hugely invigorating, successful, productive day.*

So I was a little surprised when I found myself choking up when I raised the issue with the partner.

I didn’t have tears – not even close.  But my voice was weird. And I had to look down at my paper.

I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth – I started, I said, “I planned a trip -”

And he cut me off.

“I’ll do it.”  Then the weird voice wanted to turn into tears, but it didn’t.

“Don’t even give it another thought, go on your trip, I’ll take care of this.”

Honestly, I’ve earned this.  I really have.  [redacted]

______________________________

Through this little crisis, this struggle over what it means to love my job and to hate my career choice, all at once, I’ve only solidified how much I love my firm.  The support, the love, the encouragement.  It’s come from a partner, a fellow associate, and 2 assistants.  They’ve checked in on me, cheered me on, and forced me to advocate for myself.  (not that it was THAT hard.)

______________________________

I don’t know what it means that I had a certain feeling of … self? [pride?] That my biggest reasons for hating this conflict, this tension (I love my job!  I want this opportunity!  This fucking sucks!) wasn’t about babies and kids and motherhood.  It was about me.

I mean, yeah.  The trip is with Emma, and that’s very important to me.  But the birthday party, and the weekend away with my husband, and the idea that we [lawyers?] have these plans, and they’re dashed, and we’re miserable.; that’s ME, it’s not a MOM.  We set these priorities, and they’re upended and we want to cry (or stomp our feet or punch the wall).

It’s universal.  It’s not only for moms.

Maybe that’s because I am 40, and I have so many childless contemporaries.  And my childless contemporaries – they have struggles.  they’re deeper, and they’re current, and they’re … childless.  Because they’re my contemporaries, but they’re partners.  Or they’re senior associates. They didn’t do what I did when they were 21, 22, 23.  [get married, have one, have a second baby].  And now, their bodies don’t wanna.

They don’t have a trip with their daughter.  They probably don’t want to hear about mine.

But I love these women and we have so much in common (because I’m not just a mom, I’m also ME), and I want to be close to them, and I don’t want this gulf between us because of what I have and what they don’t.  Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have what they want:  I have TEENAGERS.  They aren’t babies.  But I know I do.  Because they likely won’t have this, either.  And I, personally, love this.

_____________________________________

Anyway.

Things got fixed.  We may move the trial by a few days,** and that will be enough days to allow for my party (which I did not mention, by the way; I’m willing to roll the dice on that one).  I’ve been given permission to take my trip without worry.

___________________________________

In the meantime …

I’m over 5 years out of law school, and I’ve briefed the shit out of a lot of cases and issues, and I’ve enjoyed myself.  I’ve argued motions in court.  I’ve been on a BIG trial team where I did the prep stuff, but none of the examination of witnesses, and I’ve done a smaller trial, where I was able to delegate the prep stuff and did all of the witness examinations.

I’ve done stuff.

But I’ve never taken a deposition.

I know that there are a few of you who think, “what?  that’s crazy!!”

Tomorrow, I am noticing 4 depositions.  All of which are to be taken back here:

By me.  On (likely) Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, I think we’ll be holding a mediation on the same case.

And now that my trip with Emma is squared away, and my bitterness toward the locale is abating  — I’m SO EXCITED!!!

As of next Monday, I never again have to hang my head in shame and say, “I’ve never taken a deposition.”

[my mother called me fickle.  I told her she was wrong. What do YOU think?]

* a male associate came into my office today – we were both playing hooky from a firm event because of work we had to do, and we were sharing in our lament about how we had SO MUCH WORK!  He looked at me at one point and he said, “I have this impression here, that you’re at an “oh shit!” moment, because you have literally too much to do, and that you – in reality – love it.  And ‘oh shit’ or not, you’re going to get it done. And that it’s how you thrive, and that it’s what makes you happy.  Am I right?”

I smiled.  We both got back to work.

** Oh yeah, baby – I will be going back there in DECEMBER.  I’m totally going to learn to love this.