Thursday, August 24, 2006

Things I forgot to tell you while competing for the title of Most Self-Centered Woman in the Universe, Ever

Mr. Lashes recently started law school. My baby brother! I am so proud of him.

So are my parents. They have a bit of whiplash these days, what with all the comings and goings of their children, but they are pretty happy. Besides, with all the lawyers in the family, whiplash may not be such a problem.

Between my puke sessions and his work schedule, Mr. Lashes and I only managed to speak for a very brief few minutes this week. There's so much more I wanted to tell him. I decided this is as good a place as any. And, having spent the past hour mentally composing this post and not being able to go back to sleep after getting up to pee, I decided this is as good a time as any.

Congratulations, Mr. Lashes. You are embarking upon a great American institution. Actually, a great global institution.

I honestly never expected I would feel this way, but I hope that you grow to love the profession as much as I have.

This was probably the last thing I ever thought I would do. I never made my Barbies do battle in court. I don't watch legal shows for fun. It just seemed like a respectable option, a safe bet. I didn't "get it" at the time, but I think I do now. Or, at least I'm starting to. Ironically, I think being pregnant has helped me in this capacity.

As with parenting, people give you all kinds of advice when you embark on legal studies. I found that about 50% is right on and about 50% is total rubbish, and the big challenge is discerning which is which. I have no idea about the ratios with parenting yet; no idea at all. All I know is that, from my admittedly-limited eight-week vantage point, law school is considerably easier than becoming a parent. And nothing large has to come out of your hoo-ha (or an incision just above your hoo-ha).

There will be times--many, many times, and probably the majority of times for several years--when you will feel that you are in waaaaaay over your head. You will have no idea what you're doing, and you'll have three hours to do it. At first, this will really throw you. But, gradually, you will learn to feel comfortable that way. It will start to feel normal. And it is. It really is a metaphor for life, where we have to go about our mundane tasks with the specter of dying at an unknown time as a constant presence. You will get so used to feeling overwhelmed that when your doctor tells you, "Your ovary is enlarged, and, if x, y, and z, you may lose the ovary, or you may die," instead of sobbing immediately, you think to yourself, "Hmmm. Okay. Dying not good. Must prevent x, y, and z. I wonder if this doctor will finish giving me awful news in time for us to make the Breakfast Special across the street before heading home."

Gradually, you will feel like, at times, you really know what you're talking about. (This will probably happen during a conversation with a panicky young lawyer who, you soon realize, is a lot less experienced than yourself. Be nice. Now, you get to be the reassuring old sage.) This will happen more and more, and you will start to feel a little cocky and a little confident, and that's pretty nice. And then you will fall right smack on your ass as if you had just sprung from the womb and into the profession, and you will remember that it is normal to feel like you are in way over your head. And you will smile, do what you have to do, and keep learning. You will learn to mix experience with the unknown, and pull it off with a bit of grace. You will often be a teacher. And you will forever be a student.

And that's pretty wonderful. I like forever being a student. I like that Ty and I have been having one long, continuous conversation for the six-plus years that we've been together. I like knowing that we will never, ever, ever run out of things to talk about. Even things that extend far beyond the two of us.

I like that, in the language of every country I've ever wanted to go to, I can explain to people what I do with a simple word lookup in an English-to-foreign-language dictionary, and they'll get it. I like that it's a profession that's known, and even sometimes respected, in virtually every culture.

I like that I can do important things even while on bedrest, with the help of a simple device. I even like that I can be puking one minute and brainstorming the next.

Don't get me wrong; it's not all lavender and puppies. There's a lot of "plugging through" when you feel like crap. A lot of challenges you'd rather abandon in favor of the E! Channel (or, insert channel of choice). A lot of times you wish it were socially and legally acceptable to throw heavy objects at people. The phone will ring while you're on the toilet, or sick in bed. Half the time, it will be a dire crisis, and half the time, it will be with stuff like, "Call this guy and tell him that I said this," and you won't be sure which kind of call is worse. People will demand the impossible, and it'll be your job to explain why it's not possible, and to do it nicely. People will call you five times in a row over trivialities. But a lot of this happens in other professions, too. And you will probably start to feel like you have a bit more control over your life by the time you're in your late twenties. That's pretty good.

Then, you can have children and get completely overwhelmed all over again.

But, whether with children or school, I will always help you. I love you, Mr. Lashes. Carpe diem!


Anonymous wordgirl said...

Having one word you can translate which describes neatly and succinctly what you do for a living? Yes...I'd like that.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Congrat's to your baby brother. Man, you kids don't do anything half assed, do you? He's getting married AND starting law school? Show off :o)

And what is happening with your ovary?!

11:51 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Two lawyers in my family, both women. One a federal prosecutor specializing in white collar crime. (Go G!) Other than brief maternity leaves, she's worked full time.

The other has FOUR, count em, four boys. Infertility treatments (incl. surgery), and bedrest with three out of the four pregnancies. The last boy was conceived without medical help first time she tried, when she was almost 40!!!

The best news: she's been practicing law part-time since the birth of her first child, working out an office in her home or out of her van as she totes her kids to ballgames and practices. She had a case go to the Supreme Court and WON. We watched the arguments and I was SO PROUD. She's also had a book published in her area of expertise. Way cool.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

V-Grrrl, that is so awesome! It fills me with hope that I can keep doing this.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

Carpe diem is right ~ congrats to your brother!

3:03 PM  
Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

This is totally unrelated to your current post, but I just want you to know I'm so happy for you! I was hoping at least one person would be pregnant after my absence, but to find out both you and Teebs are is a double bonus! This is so wonderful!

9:30 AM  
Anonymous c.s. said...

just catching up again. what a lovely post. it made me cry a little, inside, no tears this time. and nice subtle simpsons reference in the title.

congratulations mr. lashes! good luck.

1:15 PM  

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