Where Did My Lawyer Self Go?

When you have a good memory, it’s both a blessing and a curse.  And you end up celebrating lots of anniversaries because you can remember every damn thing that ever happened. Today, I am celebrating the first anniversary of gathering my personal effects from my former law firm.  My maternity leave had expired in May, and when it became clear that my firm was not able to offer flex time, part-time, working from home, or other so-called “family friendly” options I had been counting on, I knew I had to resign.

But I still had to pick up my detritus from the office.  That morning, I tried to squeeze myself into a business appropriate outfit that broadcasted both, “hey, I am entirely ready to embrace full-time motherhood, even though I have never done it,” and “oh, my god, are you sure there isn’t a way I could work part-time?”  In case you were wondering, that outfit is a combination of Ann Taylor and Banana Republic paired with comfortable shoes.

My assistant, a dear and tender-hearted soul with tattooed fingers and a serious motorcycle hobby, had boxed up my stuff.  It had been so long since I was in the office, I had no idea what was in the boxes.  (I was at work when I went into labor with Simon and hadn’t been back since that cold January afternoon.)  When I looked in the boxes, I was amused and a little embarrassed to find that 2 of the 3 boxes contained my snacks and spare shoes.  (I was pregnant during my entire time at this position, so I needed every cherry sour and each package of Cool Ranch Doritos I could get my hands on.)  In the third box, I found some drafts (oh, look, I did do something besides consume starches here), some manuals for Important Lawyerly Things, and some notebooks. That box never made it past my garage, where it still sits as I write this today.

I don’t think anyone else in the world (except ya’ll) knows about this anniversary.  Hallmark has yet to capitalize on the “anniversary of your last day of gainful, full-time employment because it’s too damn stressful to be a mom and a lawyer.”  It should.  (Hey, Hallmark, call me– I have lots of great ideas.)

Today, I don’t have a desk or a “key card” that allows me access to the bathroom or a secretary or even a pad of paper.  I don’t know where Lawyer Me is.  I barely remember her, except in rare moments when I have flashbacks of firm life– like when Sadie is demanding that I do something in her bossy, incomprehensible mumbo jumbo language, I sometimes think about certain associates from whom I took orders during my stint as a lawyer.  (None of them read this blog.)

I wonder if she’s gone for ever or just in a deep, deep sleep.  Is she Ophelia or is she Sleeping Beauty? Caterpillar or hibernating bear?

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12 thoughts on “Where Did My Lawyer Self Go?

  1. I was never good at multi-tasking (aka motherhood + commercial litigator). it stresses me out to no end to half-ass things. Motherhood is way cooler to me and I’m proud to say that I’m a recovering . . err, I mean retired lawyer. Sometimes I think my boys threw me a life jacket. Happy Anniversary! Cheers to us!

  2. When my big firm found out I was pregnant, I got laid off. I probably would have gotten laid off anyway–our biggest client was Enron, and this was two years after they crashed, taking the DC Office’s core business down with it–but I was the first to go . . . I negotiated $50,000 in severance (the value of my maternity leave, plus the 1 month they were offering). One night, after the Super Bowl, I went back with my husband and collected some of my stuff. The firm sent me the rest. I could never bear to go back . . . but I have dreamed many times that I had to pack my office up again, and the dream is one of my worst nightmares. I don’t know why. I guess I felt like a failure even at a job I never liked. Sorry–pouring my heart out–something about your post made me feel safe enough.

  3. First of all, your gift of memory is a blessing! I can barely remember my own birthday and forget everyone else’s causing not a small amount of hurt feelings… Anyway, I’m really impressed that you did pack up those boxes when you were unable to get part or flex time work. I’m kind of at a cross roads myself just having had my second child and wondering if I want to go back to work. All I can think is that if part time were available I’d jump at it. But nothing seems to tip the balance in favor of either full time work or full time home. Both seem equally unattractive. ; (

  4. Happy Anniversary! So, here’s my thought… You chose a different path. It doesn’t mean that part of you is gone at all. You are just putting your time and attention into different things/people right now. I imagine the time you spent at your firm will come in handy in ways that right now you can’t even imagine. Trust me on this one. I am in education. I know. 🙂 Will you ever go back to that life? Who knows, but if you do return you will return will life experience and perspective than in your first life you never could have imagined.

  5. This post is awesome. I went from stay at home to working (because of a divorce) I sometimes miss who I was back then, but I also love who I am now. It’s so cool to see that you do too. From what I have experienced, your life could change in a blink… And you might have to awaken your Sleeping Lawyer Beauty so it’s AWESOME that you have her. Happy Anniversary!!!

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