Thursday, October 06, 2005

Why didn't I listen to my mother?
She told me when I was 18 that I should be a lawyer. I laughed and said something flip about not wanting to spend my life defending criminals. Too bad my viewpoint was so narrow then. If I had gone to law school when I was just out of college, I wouldn't be dealing with nearly the challenges I have now. Plus, maybe Mom would have been paying my way!

Now, it's 21 years later, I have a wife, 2 small children and a full time job. Four nights a week I only see my son for about an hour of the day, very late at night. I see my wife only slightly more than that, after the boy is asleep. I generally don't see my daughter awake at all those four nights. Two other days a week, I do homework until about 3:30, and then the evening is devoted to family time. The family misses me. My wife is going crazy being on duty all day and into the night. I miss them, too, and sometimes it's hard, keeping up the energy, doing the commute, handling the homework, doing the work work and most of it on not enough sleep. Still, as my wife points out, it was my choice and I am doing something I want to be doing. It was not her choice to become a single mom four nights a week and have her weekend cut down to one day.

From within me, I know I can handle this all and feel that I am doing the right thing. Overall I am happy with my life and with my decision to go to law school. Sure, there will be hard times, but life is full of challenges. When I broaden my perspective though, I get into those incredibly dangerous "shoulds". Should I be doing this to my family? I am missing out on so much of my kids' lives, not being the supportive partner my wife expected, and just generally am not there. The "for the greater good" argument is that someday this will all be worth it. By the time my kids are really involved in school activities or sports, I will be able to be around. In theory, I will be making more money to support my family (that is, as long as the job pays enough - I'll have those damn student loans to pay back). I'll be a shining example to my kids that we are all lifelong learners. I'll hopefully be doing good work in the world. I'll hopefully be happy in my career. Also, I will have gone to law school. Let's face it, there is something intrinsicly cool about that. Granted, the coolness does not outweight the $130K of student loans, but it is a nice perk :)Should I be doing this?

Please God (Goddess, Higher Power), let this all be worth it.


Casey said...

It will all be worth it....some day. :)

I'm proud of you for doing all you were doing. I just wish there were more time for us.

Donna said...

Ditto Casey! We're ALL very proud of you and it will be worth it! As the old cliche goes: No pain, no gain. And that's very truthful. I speak from experience and I think most of us can. We go through some horrible times to get to the good times - the BEST times. Hang in there. We love you lots and support what you're doing :)

Dagny said...

I think it is so awesome that you have decided to go to law school. I am sure the whole experience will be very inspiring and motivating to both your children and your spouse!