Sunday, May 29, 2022


As usual, when I'm not in a blackout rage over the horrible things that keep happening because our political response is not only to fail to even attempt *anything* to prevent the next horrible thing but here in Texas we actually make it even easier for the next horrible thing to happen, things in my own life keep happening.
In the last week we listed our house, kept our house in perfect condition through many showings, periodically carted Maggie over to a friend's house where she could nap in peace, had a very successful open house, and accepted on an offer on our house!
Also, the big kids had finals, I took a trip to Houston for work, Cora had Field Day, all our nannies graduated from college and left Fort Worth (I keep saying "nannies" but we only had one per day from 3-5:30 pm. They were a group of 3 lovely TCU students who divided up the days of the week, picked up Cora and hung out with her for 90 minutes until it was time to pick up the big kids and take everyone to swimming. Or, everyone who was going to swimming that day, and then I'd be home or someone would be at soccer or whatever was happening on that particular day), our cats started throwing up and both had to get liquid medicine 2x a day for 6 days (have you tried to give a cat liquid medicine? They are NOT AMENABLE to the idea), and I got three new matters and one new client and it was frankly a blur. I took a video call with a new client at a Sonic stall with Maggie sitting as copilot and legal support staff.
But the house looked beautiful. And our realtor was kind enough to let me know that Maggie was a big help with the photos.
Cora is still not so into the moving, though I guess it's good she could only come up with 4 reasons? Poor girl. She's so outgoing and social I know she's going to do great, but I also know the idea of this impending change is very hard on her.
I continue wearing my beautiful new clothes and checking off my outfits from Bonnie's album. It makes getting ready each day and packing for work trips so very easy. An album of oufits, a vagina curler, and shoes I bought in 2012 and I'm good to go.
As mentioned above, and in the same week of all the craziness with the house, I went to Houston for a night to visit the firm's new Houston office and give a presentation and meet with a bunch of partners. When exiting my hotel to walk over to the building, I managed to walk DIRECTLY into a glass door. Just right into it. My forehead made a loud THUNK noise when it connected. A noise so loud the two men standing outside turned to see what had just hit the glass.

Me, it was me.

I dropped my phone, had to get my phone, and then still had to get through the seemingly impenetrable glass door. Then I had to walk through the group of men inquiring as to my health and then walk to the office. I had no idea which way I was going, but even in 100 degree heat I was absolutely not looking down at my phone again until I got off that block.

And luckily, it was the right way anyway. Then I made my way to our penthouse lobby on the 47th floor and was surrounded by a terrifying amount of glass for someone whose forehead was still smarting from her last encounter.
And at least my meetings and presentations went well!

When I got back it was field day, where Cora killed it in the 50 yard dash, taking first by several yards and wondering if she'll still be the fastest at her new elementary school. #Priorities.
I met some mamas for happy hour, worked a lot, and dropped a lot of F-bombs on my commute.
James and the big kids had a swim meet.
Landon swam the 400 IM (the WORST event; he loved it) and Claire and I timed.
The pets were exhausted.
Each day I'm torn between making lists for our move to Dallas and trying to soak up this time we have left in Fort Worth. I feel like I've been unable to absorb the fact we're leaving this town we made our own and the people who have made it so special. We've been letting the kids pick their favorite restaurants to have a final meal before we move, and James and I fit in one more fancy date night to celebrate being under contract.
And last night we had an impromptu family swim after a simple homemade dinner.
I just love this crew.
Today we toured the rental house and the kids picked out their rooms and we made a plan for packing in the week ahead. The schedule goes something like this (plus me working full days and James coaching from 2-7 pm):

Monday: Pool party at our house
Tuesday: Last day of school for the kids; I'm in Dallas for work
Wednesday: Claire's check-up; Claire's birthday party at the house that night
Thursday: Landon's check-up; Claire podiatry appointment; I have a dinner
Friday: Storage pod gets delivered to the house; sort through the pod for rental house v. storage items
Saturday: Claire's birthday!
Sunday: Pack overnight bags for FW; rent a UHaul and drive it full of all the things we will need for the next 8 months to the furnished rental house; also the kids are supposed to go to Houston for PapaGigi camp but my parent's truck died on their big Pacific Northwest road trip and they're currently stranded in Arizona, so that's a big question mark
Monday: Moving van comes to pack up everyting else, deliver it to storage unit in Dallas (and yes, James is still coaching that day despite my vigorous objections)
Tuesday: I go to Washington, DC for work.

Believe it or not, the schedule actually gets more insane as June goes on. We'll take it day by day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

With Rage and Tears

I had another post semi-drafted for today, but I can't finish it and I can't publish it right now. It was celebratory and happy and purely grounded in my trivial life. But last night and today I am simply gutted by the mass murder in Uvalde. In reading the breaking news headline that there was a mass shooting at a Texas Elementary School when I have a child at a Texas Elementary School. I'm horrified, devastated, furious, but not even remotely surprised- and the lack of surprise just makes it all that much worse.

All our GOP politicians who run this state and are calling this event incomprehensible and unimaginable are flat out lying. It's absolutely imaginable- it's happened dozens of times before and every law they've passed since has simply made it easier to happen again. Our "pro-life" governor BRAGGED last year about passing pro-gun laws (22 of them!) so irresponsible that even police chiefs and certain gun groups were opposed to them. He bragged that he made it so that any eligible Texan could carry a gun in public with "no license or training needed." And then, not remotely unimaginably, an 18-year-old Texan bought an assault rifle after his 18th birthday and then killed a classroom full of children and two teachers in minutes. Because he had an assault rifle and we're the only place that makes this not only possible, but easy, and we have politicians who are PROUD of how very easy it is.

This doesn't happen anywhere else, and yet my Texas leaders will pretend there is simply nothing they can do. They'll immediately pretend that calls to action are "politicizing" as opposed to the exact logical response to repeated preventable tragedy. They will pretend that it is a problem that can't be perfectly solved and therefore we shouldn't even try. They will pretend that every other country where this DOES NOT HAPPEN is irrlevant rather than an example to study and emulate. Even here, seatbelts vastly reduce automobile death. Car registration and licensing reduce unsafe drivers. We regulate ALL SORTS OF THINGS. The Second Amendment contains the words "well regulated" in it. But somehow no, for guns there are absolutely no logical laws or regulations allowed. Not in Texas, the land of the fake pro-life lobby who pretends fetuses are sacred but actual living children are simply the price we pay for everyone being able to buy an assault rifle if and when they want one. Tiny body bags of dead school children are simply the sunk cost of protecting gun ownership.
It is devastating and infuriating and I've spent the day vaccilating between every strong feeling I have, while answering everyday emails about securities law matters and attending Cora's 2nd grade graduation.
Watching this smiling face walk across the stage and imagining those parents who will not watch their child graduate their grade, graduate any grade, or hug and hold them tight every day was simply gutting. I am so angry. I am so sad. I have donated to Everytown and I vote for pro-gun-regulation officials in every Texas election I'm eligible for, but when tiny body bags just don't matter, it's hard to feel like any of it helps.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

New Windows and Old Memories

There's really nothing like getting your home ready to sell to someone else to make you realize that you're perfectly fine living in finger-print covered squalor most of the time.
The beautiful double-paned windows and even more beautiful "I'm going to live in this house forever" doors I ordered a lifetime (8 months) ago when I really did think we'd live in this house forever FINALLY came in last week.
They were installed over the last 3 days and they are so beautiful I keep wondering if I can keep commuting after all.
We're set to move 3 weeks from Monday and I simply can't believe it.
We've been so busy I haven't been able to think about actually leaving this beautiful home behind.
Nevermind the friends, neighbors, connections, and familiarity we've built over a decade- I can't even process that yet. But this house- this physical structure that we fell in love with sitting on our couch in Austin while our then-1-year-old and 4-year-olds slept. It is so unique, so beautiful, so full of charm and quirks and memories.
It was built in 1949 and each owner- each steward- of this property has left their mark. Extensions and renovations and additions... we didn't add on, but we took down the wall to the kitchen, renovated each bathroom, replaced every damn window, and insulated the garage (among many othr more boring renovations, like hot water re-piping, replacing the hot water heaters, replacing the roof, repainting the exterior, repainting the interior, and replacing both HVAC systems).
I love this house.
All its quirks, all the work, I love it.
And I hope the next steward of this property feels the same.
We spent the weekend scrubbing, magic erasing, mulching, Windex'ing, and scrubbing some more. Then we cleared off every surface, cleaned out every closet, and did our best to make it looked like only 1-2 people live here instead of the clan of 8 we really are.
The kids worked so hard and were so great. It was not a particularly fun weekend, but it did end well.
Cookshack chicken, sangria swirl margaritas, and the kids' first viewing of Top Gun, which was a HUGE hit. The kids are now all asleep in the girls' room. We've been letting them do sleepovers every night until the move since they won't be able to do so in the rental house. It feels like the end of an era and that makes me sad too.

Strangely, it helps to think of how many other people have lived and loved here and then moved on. We found this flyer tucked in our door frame when the old one was taken out. Handwritten on delicate paper, the kids wondered why the phone numbers were so short.
Our house gets her pictures taken tomorrow. She's ready and I can't wait to see how she looks! And then I will be sad, again, because I love this house and I LOVE the memories we made here. The last ten years have been so precious and we've been lucky to call this 0.33 acre home for so long.

Claire, 2012

This girl is going to have her 12th birthday party in that pool the day before we move. What a fabulous run it's been.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

On Mothers and Mentors

I have had an absolutely lovely Mother's Day.
I slept until I wanted to wake up (7:30 am, because I am old), went to a cardio sculpt yoga class (5 days in a row!! who I am I? Rebecca from 2017?) with my favorite teacher, and came home to the very sweetest decorated table.
The kids have a tradition of decorating the table for holidays and special ocasions, but they were flummoxed by our empty party decor drawers that we pre-packed for the move. Luckily, they got creative, and during their usual Sunday morning screentime, used a stack of printer paper and the one box of markers we left out and made me a beautiful table.
I thought I'd miss the sweet toddler art Landon produced for me in such volume years ago, but I must say, teen art is pretty fun too. As were the gift bags the kids dragged from the depths of the pantry for the occasion.

We went to a fancy brunch that included a balloon animal artist and live music.
Landon gifted me his balloon creation.
I wore my grandmother's 4-strand pearl bracelet, and dangly pearl earrings, and though her mind is often gone these days, I felt her with me, just like when I wear my Grandma Jo's ring. And my great-grandmother's engagement ring that was put on her finger by my besotted great-grandfather over 100 years ago. It has been so powerful to wear their jewelry and feel the continuation of their spirits with me. It's reminded me to buy the good jewelry (and use the good china, as both my grandmothers often did) and wear it and know that one day my daughter's will wear it and think of me when they do.
We enjoyed a delicious meal, with grapefruit mimosa, and then walked around the fancy shopping area. At every new store we walked into Landon would declare with a huge sigh that it was EXACTLY the same as all the previous stores. He had so much fun.
But they humor me.
We got home and opened presents. James got me two new pairs of Rothy's because "I looked in our closet and they seem to be your favorite thing."


(Though I am quite taken with my new Birdies and may need a pair or two more. High heels are so pre-2020.)
And Cora's card made me laugh.
"I hope that when I grow up I will be just like you except for the job part."

"Oh you don't want a job?" I asked, my Type A perfectionist self immediately wondering if this was a subtle rebuke of my working mom status. "Of course," said Cora, "but not a LAWYER. You just type and read and talk. I want to be a vet and play with puppies."
Oh, yeah, that makes sense. Working from home the last two years really took all the mystery and allure out of my job for the kids.

I've been thinking a lot this past week about how thankful I am for the amazing women and mentors in my life. I got the sweetest gift from a new contact, a forensic accountant I served on a panel with, and a note saying, "you are going to crush it." He helped set up meetings for me with contacts of his when I was in Chicago to build my referral network and I had the best aternoon walking around my favorite city, going from meeting to meeting, and talking to people who love what they do and are damn good at it. It was like vitamins to my legal and business development soul and the whole trip made me reflect on all the connections that brought me to the new ones I was making.

I had never met a lawyer before I applied to law school. I did some case clerking my last semester of college and got to know a few - one of whom is still a dear friend and mentor who I called as soon as I realized it was time to go back to private practice. But generally, I didn't know any lawyers or women who worked after having children. I grew up in a suburb way outside of Houston where moms stayed home or maybe had part time jobs they could do from home. Maybe a few were teachers, like my mom became later, but generally, the image of a working business woman was one I had from the Diane Keaton movie Baby Boom and she ended up going to the country and inventing gourmet baby food and I didn't see that path in my future.

And so I went to law school and enthusiastically attended any event where a lawyer would talk to me, especially a female lawyer. There are so many women who spoke at lunch events during my law school years who have NO idea the impression they left on me. Just hearing them talk about their practice, their firms, their lives... even if I didn't get many details, even if I never thought I'd be a BigLaw partner in Chicago, I absolutely soaked up their examples. Their proof that it could be done. At happy hours or other events, if I was lucky enough to speak one-on-one with someone, I'd follow up and ask if they could meet for coffee. And so many said yes! I thought I knew, but now I really know how absolutely precious every minute of their day was and they gave me 30 of them- a random 1L law student with wide eyes and lots of questions and I just feel so overwhelmingly thankful to them for doing so. And once I got to the firm, the women I saw- balancing, struggling, handling setbacks, cheering successes, building their lives and their practices- I learned from every one of them.

I've been blessed with many great mentors- men and women- and it's my goal to pay their time, knowledge, and relationships forward to others. Mentoring, and the ability to connect with law students, younger associates, and senior associates, is one of the things I've enjoyed most about going back to private practice. It's important to me to be a successful female partner in this space. Part of the reason we're moving is that how much I enjoy being back in the office- working directly with our associates, having them drop by the office, being present in our practice group, participating in social events, recruiting events, client events... I know I'm still in the honeymoon phase, but damn if I'm not enjoying every minute of it.
Happiest Mother's Day to all the moms, mentors, and caregivers out there. To mother is a verb, and a powerful one at that. I keep this photo on my dresser and though it's of me holding my sweet Cora, it stands in as the perfect image of how I felt holding each one of my babies, and how I still feel when I look at them in equal parts love and awe that they are mine.
I'm so lucky to be their mom and so thankful for the paths in my life that have allowed me to walk with them and with James, and to now forge this new one for me back at the firm, but with all of us together in it, with them at my back and by my side.
Nearly fifteen years into this mothering thing, and as we all sit on the couch together watching Thor (we're slowly working our way through the Marvel timeline), I love knowing that it just seems to get better.