Law School, Barbie Dolls, and Maternity Riders

Fayetteville, AR: There are a few things that professors will tell you not to do when you are in law school.

Don’t get married.

Don’t have a baby.

Don’t rob Federal Reserve banks.

Crazy, right?

Thankfully, my experience in these endeavors is limited.

And the statute of limitations hasn’t run yet, so…

I’ll just stick to my story here.

At the tender age of 33, I went back to college. Before that, I’d been preaching for small conservative churches and wanted to get away from all the legalism.

So, I went to law school.

Anyway, my bride and I found ourselves at the University of Arkansas where one of the benefits of attending is free health care.

Well, it’s only free if you don’t count the millions of Arkansans whose involuntary taxes contributed to the costs.

Thank you fine Arkansas tax payers for your generosity!

One of the riders to that health insurance was that pregnancy was covered. For some reason, I think this was a popular addition.

We already had an 18-month-old girl when I started law school.

But my wife wanted two girls, not just one. And she wanted them to be about the same distance apart in age as she was from her sister.

Law school is stressful enough so don’t complicate it by doing more stressful stuff.

Which is apparently why we decided to have a baby in my second year of law school. I even missed a final exam to welcome our second girl into the world.

I think that some classmates got married.

But that’s still not the point.

At the appropriate time, we went to the university health clinic for a pregnancy test.

At the time in the late 1990s, when a student visited the campus medical clinic, he or she would have been greeted with a life-size Barbie doll staring like a crazed zombie at the sick students waiting to receive Benadryl or other life-saving medicine.

Let me say that again: A life-sized Barbie doll. Well over 6 feet tall.

She was creepy.

I don’t know if it is still there but it was not very appealing, unlike the Mattel Russian Barbie I had purchased for my bride.

Which was pretty and stayed that way until one of our girls gave her a hair-cut years later.

We were pretty sure that my bride was pregnant. But we had to get the official test from the clinic so some insurance official could make a car or house payment that month.

A few minutes later a young woman sits down in front of us with a stern look on her face.

And I could tell that she didn’t want to tell us the results of her findings.

Just tell us the news.

“Well,” she began. She was nervous.

“The results are back and, well… Well, um…”

Come on, just say it.

“You’re pregnant.”

(Actually, only one of us was…)

But we both breathed a sigh of relief and happiness.

The worker, for a nano-second, was confused but then sensed our happiness and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Oh, good.”

She was visibly and sincerely relieved to see that we were happy.

I suspected that this announcement wasn’t always met with happiness.

I wouldn’t want her job.

We said thank you to the nice clinic worker and goodbye to the creepy Barbie as we exited the clinic and went shopping for diapers and baby clothes.

“Hey, Honey. Nicole sounds like a good name for a girl, don’t you think?”


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