25 April 2008

what i learned when my husband went to law school.



three years ago we embarked on an adventure. i say we because this sort of adventure involves the whole family. some called us crazy. some said it was risky. (and boy was it expensive.) this adventure was a little thing we call law school.

back then, i was just a wee one. i knew nothing; let's face it. people told us this time would fly by. i did not believe them. people told us that law school was the most memorable time of their lives. yeah right. people told us that the friends you make in law school will be your pals forever. hmm. doubt it. for some reason, 3 years ago, all of these romantic statements thrown our way were not the things i really wanted to hear. sure optimism is a good thing.. but sometimes you (i) need a bit of reaffirmation. you just want the cold hard truth. you want to hear that being poor sucks. you want to hear how being a law school widow sucks. you want to hear that you are saying farewell to your husband and tossing him into a pile of books. which will cost you a lot of money, by the way. you'll want to hear that moving miles away from your family is super sad. you want to hear that attempting to support your two person family is really hard. you want to hear that you are the bomb dot com, hero of a lifetime to support your hubby through three years of law school. and you want to hear that your husband is a stud for heading back to school. you want to hear that this self-imposed torturous endeavor will pay off in the end. (and you will want a guarantee on that.) these are the kinds of things you wish people would say, but they don't. so you simply jump in. luckily we had each other.

so the first year we were like newborns. feeling strangely uncomfortable leaving the womb. law school society was a whole new world; especially because that whole new world was called orange county, california. we lived there and played there and it was more dreamy than i imagined. we were still poor and pathetic, but we had plenty. we ate like nobody's business, because the OC has the best restaurants and juicy fresh colorful produce is unbelievably cheap. and i worked hard. harder than i have ever worked in my life. i learned a lot and grew and grew. and that year, dan planted a big fat smile on his face because he discovered his new love. he spent hours devoted to her. he spent his nights with her, cooped up in the library. he and she would whisper back and forth as he read words with too many vowels in books with too many pages. her name: the Law.

i didn't resent her of course. all this time he spent with the Law made him happy. really truly actually happy. i couldn't have been gladder. i busied myself with projects and work and doing five loads of laundry at once (the one pro of using a laundromat) and reading on the beach on saturdays. dan would come home with stories upon stories of torts and trials and cases. i tried to be a good wife and listen and be interested. i especially liked when they were dramatic cases and i could try to detect the ending and decipher justice. i liked to pull out all the stops and imagine every grisham movie i'd ever seen; a little part of me wants to be darby shaw.

he would tell me about the cases and we'd discuss what fairness is all about. i learned how everyone deserves a good lawyer, that everyone deserves their day in court and how we have to be honest, ethical, good citizens of the world; because it's our duty. this reminder made me stop the once in a while lemonade in my water cup at cheap restaurants. it made me stop speeding or making u-turns at illegal points in the road too. well most of the time. i didn't realize i would get a new roommate; but i did. i was living with a bearded judge judy. i became a super sleuth with dan's new knowledge. suddenly i knew all my rights and knew i could tell the officer that i would have to see a warrant for that. or that i don't have to say anything until my lawyer is there. dan can tell me the laws about everything and how much time i'd spend in the big house if they caught me and would then ask me how i would defend myself if on the stand. i don't know the heimlich so good, but i am going to be really prepared if ever the SWAT team shows up at my door.

our more serious discussions soon became very logical and precise, i learned that dan would want the court report read back to him if i said some silly blunderous statement that made no sense at all. yeah, i do that. a lot. he was a lawyer in training, and he had me to practice on. though annoying at times, it was genius. and i loved him more and more. my mom and i would chat on the phone and she would say she thought of dan everytime she watched Law & Order. a show i'm sure dan (and all other law school students) would love, if they had a free moment to actually watch it.

speaking of television, dan has been very lucky to have me. throughout his law school career, i've kept him up to date on everything important: what tyra did on Next Top Model or what simon said on American Idol or the state of billy bush's tan on Access Hollywood. without me, dan would have had no clue about hurricane katrina, mitt running for president, paris in the slammer, katie leaving the today show or that the last bachelor didn't choose either girl. while stuck in traffic or on a weekend road trip, he'd detail the history of the constitution and quiz me on the names of the supreme court justices and i'd update him on everything worth knowing and quiz him on how many babies angie and brad have. {what can i say, we work as a team.} i'd also tell dan about my clients at work and how stressful and crazy and hilarious it all is. he would tell me about his classes and ask if i'd make cookies for the study group on fridays. i became known for my chocolate chip & rice krispie cookie. which makes me a very happy girl.

after the first year, dan had the opportunity to transfer to the university of utah. we rejoiced at the thought of coming home and cried at the thought of leaving the oceanside campfires, the in & out chocolate shakes, trader joes grocery store and our wonderful new friends. but we headed to utah with happy, thankful hearts. {coming home was an unexpected jaunt in our adventure.}

throughout the entire adventure, dan never complained about the tower of mammoth books on his cheap ikea desk, or the fact that he was expected to actually read them (nor the fact that he has never had a proper fancy true law school studentesque oak table to read them on). he never complained about the socratic method his professors used, naming students unexpectedly (by their last names, mister so and so...). he never complained about riding his bike to school every day or staying late at the library every night. he never complained that his meals were rarely hot or that he had to wear an old suit to mock trial. he never complained about the workload or all the fun he was missing out on. he never complained that most every weekend was spent in the library at his desk with his head buried in a book and his fingers tapping away at his laptop.

instead, he would tell me the 'dinner' i packed him was delicious, that he had a spot in the sun to work at all day, that his bike was the best commute ever, that he loved the case he was working on, that his professors were inspiring, and that he wanted to be a good lawyer someday.

now that our adventure is wrapping up and dan will be graduating from law school in two weeks; i am getting all sentimental. this adventure has flown by. i will always think fondly of this special time; where it was just d and me. the three short years where we made so many memories and lived off bowls of linguine. the years he discovered that orange flavored rockstar can keep him awake to cram all night. the years i figured out what i wanted to do and actually did it. the years that we made friends who are unforgettable. the years where our short li'l trips camping in the desert were better than a stay in any lavish hotel. the years where dan and i took long walks; memorizing all of our favorite houses in all of the neighborhoods we lived in. the years where we wrote emails back and forth and cheered each other on from desktop to laptop. the years that we learned and grew and became brand new people.

cheers to a fabulous finale and a new birth of possibilities.

50 comments:

Carly said...

Marta, My husband is applying to MBA programs in all sorts of fancy places...we are already poor and the thought of being even more poor frightens me. Thank you for this post, it is inspiring. Thx.

Dansie Family said...

congrats on all your accomplishments and good luck in the new chapter in your life. although i am super excited than dan is graduating and will be a full fledged lawyer, I am more excited that you are a having a babe and will become a full fledged mama. mamahood is the best.

Jess said...

you describe a beautiful picture of marriage and teamwork. i am thrilled for you both, and enjoying your blog very much.

Hannah said...

Congrats on graduating! That is a major accomplishment. I always get a little sad at the end of an era...no matter how tough that era was. I can't wait to hear about where you and your husband are heading now.

jess said...

yes, yes. just what I needed to hear today. did i tell you that clint wants to go to law school AFTER he finally finishes his bachelors? we do have a long road ahead of us, but i appreciate seeing someone come out on the other end of it! congrats to the both of you for making it through!

gab said...

Min! You are totally the bomb dot com. Hello!! Dan is getting a law degree...but you get a LIFE degree. You earned it so beautifully. Your example of selflessness and sacrifice during this time has been inspiring to me. Love ya! Can't wait to celebrate togetha...

Jessica said...

Since we didn't travel to that country, I was totally intrigued by your nitty-gritty report. Thanks! (and congrats!)

jen b said...

marta- your writing just pulls me in. thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

rachellake said...

That was truly beautiful. Many of my friends are graduating from undergrad in a few weeks, while I am staying behind another year. It's wonderful to hear your story - that the journey has been worth it.

JRose said...

...and then "the other woman" becomes "The Firm"

CONGRATULATIONS and welcome to the club.

your words are inspiriing...I have been thiniking about our best friends from law school...truly the best times!

xoxo
one previous law school wifey to another

Cath said...

Marta! So honest! So eloquent! So bold! You are SUCH a good writer!

And this, my dear, is just the beginning.

Congratulations to the team of Marta and Dan!

Cath

TravelinOma said...

You are a fabulous example of how to live a happy life. Both of you deserve degrees in courage, hard work and affirmative action! You have a great partnership.

brooke said...

Your post brought back many happy memories for me. Sam and I went to law school together and it was quite an adventure. I hope Dan enjoys being a lawyer as much as he enjoys the law. Good luck on the move and the babe and this awesome new chapter of your life.

lucy said...

oh, marta, this was so great. i've got a little tear rolling down my cheek now. you two are so lovely and wonderful. congrats to the both of you for making it through the adventure and coming out shiny and new in the end. :)

Christie said...

Min, once again, your writing reaches out and touches the soul. Well said, sister.

Susan said...

I don't even know you, but reading that makes ME feel sentimental about it!

Raesha D said...

Wow...what a great post. I love the law too....

J said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Summers Camp said...

Wow Miss M. I could not have written that better myself (except we arrived with a 1 yr old, have another year left, and we stayed in CA)! Everything you've described is too true, it's uncanny. Congratulations and good luck with what comes next (at least it's the UT Bar...)! *B

shan & andrew said...

What a great, inspiring story! Thank you for sharing and good luck with everything!

Nadia said...

Marta, it is true how you have the ability to draw people in. I was thinking today how much I love to read and how the end of a book is always bittersweet..then I thought about blogs and how there is a secret promise of another page(post). I wish you all the the best in this "Dan, Me and Baby Makes Three" chapter of your life.
Thank you Marta...Congrats Dan!
p.s. thank you for the disclaimer!

gem said...

found you via Susannah/ink on my fingers...such a lovely space.
warmly,
gem

amy said...

marta. graduation is so hard huh? i wasn't even graduating but i attended for my brother-in-law. it is so strange.

beautifully said. you and i are alike :)

Erica said...

I really loved reading your post. My husband is a 2L at George Washington Univeristy here is DC. I have felt all those things you said along the way. We have one more year left and I am just in shock about how fast things have happened! Thanks for the great post. I read the blog daily!

Katie said...

My man is graduating in 2 weeks as well. I'm so proud of him I could burst!

Multi-talented and Menially Employed, J.D. said...

Law school is definitely a great time. A time of learning and growing. Graduation is a great sense of accomplishment. You feel entitled and as if you are on the verge of endless opportunities. And then you graduate. You are still poor AND you have to take the Bar. Some pass and some have to do it again. You loans come due and good jobs are hard to come by. For decent money give up for "a few more years." Or you take a job that is "beneath you" and fondly remember you law school days. Sadly, you will realize that memorizing the elements of CL crimes as a 1L in the library at 11pm was when you had it good.

May you continue to support your husband as he faces the even tougher road ahead.

christine said...

Well written :)

The Neslen's said...

You are inspiring to all. My husband and I are about to step into our own adventure and I may be moving away from everything I have known. Your accomplishments have been great and are inspiring to me.

P.s. That chocolate chip rice krispie treat cookie sounds good!! You should post the recipe!

Christina said...

I can't believe I haven't commented on this post yet, because I loved it so much! Some of our good friends just graduated from law school a couple of days ago- it's a wonderful accomplishment, beautifully encapsulated in your words!

kendall. said...

Oh, congrats to the both of you. My husband and I are both seminary students, and this post feels more like my life than anything I've ever read. And you gave me hope for a light at the end of the tunnel! Love your blog!

Brit said...

My husband graduated law school recently only to be hired by the FBI. At least he is great at arguing now! It really was a great experience for us, too. =) Congratulations on the graduation!

Champagnewednesdays said...

Maybe because I just got engaged last week, but definitely because you are a wonderful writer, this post made me feel all teary-eyed at my desk. Thanks. Jen

Michelle said...

You know, I have been reading your blog and looking forward to your posts for several months now. Sometimes I feel a bit like a voyeur because your posts are so personal and who the heck am I to be reading them? But here I am...reading, enjoying, smiling at each post. I think you are a special person, Marta. Thanks for putting it all "out there" for all to see. You are truly inspirational and Dan is unbelievably lucky to have you in his life. And, the wee cherub, too--what a fun mum you will be!

Megan said...

Wow mowda. So touching. What an incredible journey. You and Dan are a perfect team... I admire you both! This was beautiful. I enjoyed reading it so much. one minute i was laughing, the next i had chills... you are amazing.

ellen said...

Great post!

Johnalie said...

I don't know you, and you don't know me but I am also from Utah and in 3 months my husband and I will be moving to Lawrence, KS for law school. I found your post extremely interesting. It's good to hear that you survived. I hope our experience is as wonderful and challenging as yours. Good luck with your new future!

Jean said...

Wow, what an amazing summary! Congrats to you and your husband for persevering through such a challenging time.

dayna said...

beautifully said. it makes me reflect on our past few years--i need to write the good moments and the turning points!

Lizzy said...

I randomly found your blog..google reader is the best..and am entering Law School in a few short months. Single girl..my situation is different...but I just wanted to thank you for the inspiration your post provided. You touched a spot in my heart I've been hoping would be reached as I search for the courage to find joy in this new adventure. thank you!

Freda said...

I know I'm a little late for this post, but I had to comment. I graduated from law school in 2000. It was the most challenging 3 years of my life. And don't even talk to me about the bar exam. I never looked at it from my husband's perspective. He asked me to marry him during the spring of my first year of law school and we had the wedding the summer after my second. He went through so much with me...everything you described. I'm gonna go give him a big hug & kiss.

Thank you for opening my eyes!

That Tall Girl said...

Marta,
I just found your blog on Google. My husband is in his second year and I am SO ready for it to be over. This poor and lonely thing is getting a little old. I feel a little bad because I know that there are military wives out there with husbands thousands of miles away putting their lives on the line. But sometimes I think it's just hard because he's in the next room or at the library down the street, and he's doing work therefore not allowed to talk to me.

Thanks for the story. It's nice to see someone else feel like me.

air drying dessicants said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
angiemcgovern said...

I just stumbled across your blog today. You are an amazing writer and as the "widow" of a law student, whose last day of classes is tomorrow, I completely relate to this. Thank you for writing this, it gives me a renewed sense why we are doing this. I will share it with my husband on May 15th, the day after his last 1L exam.

White Lily said...

I just found your blog. This is a great post. It takes me back to...law school, fancy that. I, too, have very fond memories of our adventures during my hubby's law school career. Reading this post, though, I realized that I had actually forgotten...suppressed? many of those memories. (I suppose they're not all fond.

Time flies. My husband has actually been out of law school longer now than he was in it. You will learn, as I'm sure you have already begun to, that the "real world" of practicing law is much different from law school...and from what they tell you the "real world" will be like in law school.

Just as we felt naive and uncertain of what to expect heading into law school, we soon learned that we were maybe even more naive upon exiting it, and that things were not certain, or as we had expected, in the real world of law.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, and best wishes to your family in your husband's legal career.

lawschoolwife said...

I realize I'm over a year late to this sweet post, but I thought I should let you know that this gives me such great hope! My husband just started law school last week, and I am just beginning to move on from the omg-this-is-going-to-suck phase to the maybe-it-wont-be-quite-so-bad-but-still-incredibly-long phase. It's so good to hear about successful marriages and uplifting stories, when all I was met with hubby's first week were horror stories of infidelity and divorce among his law school's student body. Thank you for writing this!

~S~ said...

Marta,
This is such a beautiful post! I was in the same situation as you, except I was Dan and my boyfriend was you. It's definitely a hard, anxious, stressful journey for both parties. But at the same time it is definitely such a great memory and bonding experience to have. I don't think I was as gracious and never complaining as your husband was (i sure did complain a lot!) but it was definitely a time that brought me and my boyfriend closer together. Thanks for sharing, this was very inspiring.

Jennifer said...

Hi, I don't know you or your husband, but I want to say that this was the most encouraging thing I have read in a long time. My husband and I recently got married, all with me searching for my first teaching job and him applying to law school. Luckily, I found a job and he was accepted. Although we tried to prepare ourselves for what law school would bring, it's completely different when "we" are in the thick of studying for finals. :) Your post made me smile, laugh, and cry because this is almost exactly what we are going through, although he's only a 1L. We have been through a lot in 6 years, including a bought with cancer, but this is truly different, and your post allowed me to see that I'm not the only law school 'widow' out there. Thanks, Jennifer

james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
................................
essay term paper-Essay Writing Help

Heather said...

With my husband starting law school in a few short weeks, I find myself searching for anything that will help me brace myself for the three years ahead. I found your post refreshing, and hope that we can find the joy in the journey and the sacrifices, as you have. Looking forward to my adventure as a law "widow."

Related Posts with Thumbnails