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A parent holding their smiling child in a swimming pool
Guest Speaker For My Daughter’s 7th Grade Career Exploration Class

My daughter, Emma, asked me to be a guest speaker for her 7th grade Career Exploration class.  I was terrified I would either bore or depress them to death.  Other parents had already spoken to the class, which prompted her nervously to ask me questions like, “Mom, are you going to have a power point?”  “Um, no,” I responded.  She then commented that one mom built tanks, one handed out sunglasses with “US Navy” on them, and another brought in Hershey bars the size of a small dog.  Clearly, the gauntlet had been thrown, and I had to produce big time.

Armed with movie-theater sized boxes of candy, as soon as I got to the front of the classroom a sweet girl piped up, “Love your shoes!”  I liked her immediately.  Not to be outdone, the boy sitting next to her, a future lady-killer, shouted, “Love your outfit!”  He can now date my daughter in 4 years.  I knew I had them, and it was gonna be good.  Emma was my Vanna White, and handed out the candy to whomever asked a question.

Instead of lecturing, I invited them to ask me anything.  What ensued was a jam-packed hour of insightful, challenging, and thoughtful questions, including, “If you weren’t a lawyer, what else would you do?”  I answered, “I would totally do a retro-hard-to-find clothing store,” which they made fun of endlessly for using the word “totally” ala Valley Girl, even though it was way before their time.  “Did you ever feel like giving up?” “What was your most interesting case?”  “What was your biggest success?”  “How do you spend time with your family?”  “What is your biggest challenge?”  Afterward, the teacher confessed she had been worried about the presentation.  I suspect she feared it would be dullsville.  She said she was amazed at the kids’ enthusiasm and great questions.

I remain irked that I have not yet made the Super Lawyer’s list.  However, Emma came home after school and told me that the rest of the day kids were telling her, “Your mom was awesome!” and that she thought I was awesome too.  I thought, who needs Super Lawyers?  I am Awesome Mom.

A parent holding their smiling child in a swimming pool
Iron Jawed Angels

Last night I attended the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan event at the Goldfish Tea house in Royal Oak and was able to catch up with my colleagues Patti Dudek and Marsha Tuck. The tea house was charming and had a European feel to it with its wood floor and shelves that lined the whole length of the store. Right up my alley. It was a perfect fall day with just an edge of crisp to it and we were met by the smell of jasmine and the tea house’s gracious owner. I was good and didn’t whip out my wallet, even though I was lusting after some of the tea sets. One of the displays was cleverly labeled “last one” that was calling to me like I was Alice and it said “eat me.”

The WLAM event was showing the HBO movie “Iron Jawed Angels” to celebrate democratic values month. I had seen the movie when it aired on HBO some time ago, and I think every 18 year old woman should see it. I had forgotten how powerful it is. The suffragettes truly did “suffer” in their efforts to have women achieve legal status greater than livestock. Hilary Swank’s portrayal of Alice Paul moved many of us to tears. I have been fortunate to grow up in an era where my law school graduating class was 50 percent women and husbands are expected to help raise the kids. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to have my own checkbook or have people think I’m a slut because I wore pants. The film is a wonderful illustration of how many of my legal rights as a woman have evolved during my grandmother’s generation. If you haven’t seen it, watch it with your daughter. There are some disturbing parts, so not for my little girls quite yet. I would like to think that if I were born in that era I would have been brave enough to march with them. Along with Patti and Marsha we carry on a similar fight for people with disabilities. Often their rights are neglected and their voices are not heard. Even though none us rode horses in the front of the suffragette parade, we have their legacy and strength of purpose to inspire us.