Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Family Affair

A few weeks ago, my 8 yr old son B asked if he could come to work with me.  I don't expect that he has a real interest in the legal profession - in fact, I don't think he really has a firm grasp on what I do, except, as his Dad says "Lay down the law!".  I think it was more the result of summer vacation.  The kids have been spending all day every day with their Dad and, bless 'em, they want to spend more time with me. 

So, when he asked, I reviewed my schedule, found a day when I'd be in court with a friendly, receptive Judge and only a single hearing and said "Sure."  He was sooo excited; told all of his friends that he was coming to court with me.  The day before, he picked out his 'respectable' summer clothes, showered and went to bed early.

In the morning, Steve and I talked to him about courtroom etiquette: sit still, be quiet, no talking to Mom while she's examining a witness.  He got a little spooked and at the last minute changed his mind. I went to court alone.  I suspect that he regretted his decision the moment I pulled away from the house and, surprisingly, so did I.  As I was driving the 35 minutes to the courthouse, I just kept pondering how fun it would have been to have him in the car with me, answering his never-ending questions about what to expect, who he would meet, etc. I was sorry that I did not get to share this part of my life with him. 

As an attorney, you're only allowed to talk about your job so much - and hardly any of it is appropriate for little ears, so my kids don't really know what I do.   I am very proud of what I do, and as I was driving, I pondered how I wish they did know so they could be proud, too.  I would like my children to see me in a role other than "Mom;" to see that in my profession I have earned the respect of my colleagues and the judiciary, and that I deserve their respect, too, for what I do everyday. 

That morning, as I sat in Judge's chambers, chatting with the judge, I was also regretting not being able to show my son off.  I am incredibly proud of him; he is seriously smart, genuinely kind (except to his sister ;) ), and cute as a button.  I would have loved to have seen his reaction when talking with the judge and the serious look on his face when he was being questioned by the big, bald probation officer!  I would have liked the opportunity to earn my colleagues' respect as a parent as well as an attorney.

I used to wonder how parent/child law firms could exist.  If I had to spend that much time with my mother, I'd kill myself!  But sitting that day, pondering, I could only think how incredible it would be to have that kind of influence over my children.  To have their respect as a person and as a professional; to instill in them the respect and love that I have for the legal profession...and to maybe, one day, do the job that I love best with the people I love best every day.  

B wants to come to court with me next week... I think I'll let him....

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