By Jacqueline Leung • January 14, 2017•Writers in Residence, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
It was the two of us this afternoon. We were running errands together, and had went into a nearby shop. Outside, it was cold and crisp, with temperatures around the upper 20s. When we walked to the store, I felt a small hand go into mine. I looked down and at her for a moment. I looked at her closely. Then a wistful thought came in my mind. She is eight years old and in second grade. Yet, she is holding my hand. My proud, intelligent, challenging, and outspoken eight-year-old reached out and held my hand.
As I write this, I think about how far we have come, and how she grew up during my time pursuing law. I raised her on my own for most of her life. We started our law journey together before her second birthday. From preparing for the LSAT, applying for law schools, visiting law schools, and the decision, she was there. Her hand was in my hand as well, though at the time, it was different.
Now five years later, she was holding my hand. This is the same hand that held my hand, and my hand held her hand. Yet, it was different. The question is, “why?” I spent some time tonight thinking about it. WHY does it feel different? Then I know the answer.
It is because she is eight now, and five years has passed since our journey to the west coast. We left a Midwest state/town that both of us loved (she was born and lived in, I was a transplant), leaving friends and an important part of ourselves behind and came to a new state and city we have never set foot in before. We moved into a small apartment among strangers. We moved a month and a half before it was time to start school. For that month, we spent time visiting childcare facilities, and selected one that she would remain at until she graduated kindergarten. We traveled to a multicultural weekend retreat, and met other law students. We returned home, refreshed, and managed to find time to visit family in another nearby Western state before returning to begin school. At that time, she was less than half my height, and one of the youngest law students. She often went to class with me, especially during sick days or when childcare was closed. She was as I said, my cheerleader.
Today, she is more than half my height, and she is still here on this journey with me. While she has two siblings to share time with me, she is still my first. She is still my sunshine, my little one. My champion, my cheerleader, my source of inspiration when I was at my lowest point. When I struggled during reading assignments, finishing papers and briefs, to exam preparation, she was there. She always was. Now that the craziness of law school is over, I can look at her and realize just how much she has changed, and in the process, how much I have changed as well.
Yet, no matter where I go today . . . I will remember this moment because she held my hand today.