In early September, my wife and I welcomed our firstborn into the world. She was breach, so that made the process a little more involved, especially for my wife. C-sections are no fun. Nonetheless, everyone is healthy and happy, so we can't complain. I was getting up to play golf at 5 in the morning, and discovered shortly thereafter that my wife's water had broken. So we went through some contractions together for a while, called her doctor, and then called the hospital and her parents. My wife was calm and heroic throughout the process. And in the end we had a healthy baby girl! Four and a half months later, our girl is in the 95th percentile for height and right in the middle of where she needs to be weight-wise. Table for three, please!
I have learned to bathe, launder for, feed, swaddle and dress an infant, something with which I had no experience before. Every day is an adventure, and coming home is now doubly pleasurable. To counteract my work schedule, I try to be super daddy when I'm home. I bath her and change her before bed. I feed her and put her to sleep when my wife isn't breastfeeding her. I also get her ready for daycare in the morning and drop her off. It's made for some mad dashes to the office, but it's worth it. We maximize our face time this way. Being a father is so much more fun than I ever imagined it would be.
Trouble is, I'm a trial lawyer. More so than any other time of my life, I am coming to terms with the value of time. As we speak, I am in the office awaiting a section of a trial exhibit list on a very big case that's approaching. It's so very not fun compared to what I have waiting for me at home. We really do only get a finite amount of it in our lives. With a wife and baby at home, the time lost with them is an incalculable quality-of-life hit. When I think about the opportunities I will lose with my children if I stay here on a partnership track, leaving is a no-brainer.
I don't disparage the profession as a whole. Goodness knows, it has done great things for us. I am very lucky to be able to think and to write for a living. I have had the opportunity to learn things I never would have learned otherwise. In my spare time, I freed accused men and women in a state that is VERY reluctant to let them go . I have argued in front of juries. I have made passionate, intelligent friends. The life of a lawyer is very rewarding to a great many people, myself included. But it's not a life of balance. One lives and dies by the billable hour. The work is hard and long for very little immediate and tangible benefit given your efforts. [Employed*] Lawyers are paid well, but sacrifice so much in return. From what other profession would the foreign service be seen as a chance to spend more time with family!
So I wistfully await my trial exhibit list draft, peruse photos of my daughter on my phone, and dream about future possibilities.
Word on the street is that State hasn't made up its mind about having a March generalist class, so there will be no resolution this week about my future. So be it. Happy Friday, blogosphere. Tell my daughter I love her.
* We'll talk about what it takes to be an employed lawyer out of law school another time.