For as long as I’ve been practicing law, the annual “comp romp” was a highlight of the year: it’s 1 day of continuing legal education (CLE) classes covering workers’ compensation law stretched into 3 half days at St Simons Island, GA. When I worked at a big firm, we’d get giant houses on the water, divide into groups according to projected staying out times, and I’d show everyone how well I’d perfected the ability to look coherent and presentable on fewer than 3 hours sleep for 3 consecutive nights. It was the “play hard” part of the equation that was life as a an associate attorney.
Since going out on my own in ’09, this annual CLE was slightly different–I’d share a large house with other plaintiffs’ attorneys. We’d go out to the bars, but it was more about camaraderie and comparing notes than it was blowing off steam, since we were 30-something instead of 20-something, and we actually liked our professional lives now that all of us had gone solo. However, I still managed to stay out til 3 or 4 every night, and I’d hardly consider the event one to which family should be invited.
About a month ago, I changed my mind. The guy who rode with me was bringing his family (I learned upon asking if he wanted to carpool again), and my family had skipped the beach this summer, much to the babies’ disappointment. So, I found the above house on vrbo.com and booked it. We made plans to leave Wednesday after school got out. All 6 of us + the dog.
And you know what? It was actually pretty awesome. I’d attend classes from 8 to 12 while my family enjoyed the beach, and afterward, we’d rent bikes or something and explore the island.
I had the little one attached to mine. She loved it.
We visited a lighthouse.
Climbed to the top and enjoyed the winds and the view.
After the seminar ended Saturday, I drove us to Savannah, a town I’ve visited several times for work but never for fun (and the rest of my family had yet to visit at all). Just off the coast on Tybee Island was PirateFest! A nice lady saw us sitting in the park waiting on a table at the best pizza joint in town and gave away her pirate hat and pirate necklace.
Were this a review of bringing one’s family to a professional conference, I’d give it 2 thumbs up. I’m thinking this will begin a new annual tradition of skipping school for a few days in October and enjoying the ocean.
And yes, I still went out til 2 a couple nights (after the children were peacefully resting).