It took place in Jefferson City, and although another judge in the county he works in could have sworn him in, he chose to go through the official ceremony for his dad and me and his wife Leslie.
He was first sworn in inside the supreme court chambers by the supreme court justices. It was crowded, but impressive to listen as a group of 60 men and women took their oath and received their licenses.
We then headed back to the Capitol building. The new lawyers sat at the desks of our lawmakers and while their families watched from the gallery above, they were welcomed and sworn into the federal court system. Many of us parents wondered if someday we would be sitting in the gallery watching our child serving as an elected official. It could certainly happen to some of those men and women sitting in those chairs Friday.
I was so proud, as was my husband and Joel's wife, to see my son come to the end of a long, long journey that started for him 10 years ago. When he first told us he wanted to be an attorney, I didn't know how to respond. I knew with his determination he could do it but I honestly wasn't sure, as a mother, this was the profession I wanted for him. My first question was, "Can you be a Christian lawyer, son?" He replied, "I think I can be, Mom." And, I believe him.
He headed off to Jonesboro and ASU and completed his bachelor's degree. Then on to Fayetteville to earn his master's degree at the University of Arkansas. He was accepted at the Tulsa School of Law, so, after a December wedding to his bride Leslie, they loaded up and headed to Oklahoma for three years.
This has not been an easy road for him. He had to work, starting in high school and continued all the way through law school. In Jonesboro, we used to tease him that he had worked at every restaurant in town. He did what he had to do to make some money for school. His dad and I were not much help financially, so, what scholarships and grants didn't cover, some very large student loan(s) helped him complete his dream. He is proof that if you want the education bad enough, you will find a way to do it. Leslie was also his strength during law school. Her degree was complete and she worked long hours to pay the bills and keep the house a home. Joel worked as a teacher at a community college while going to law school and loved it. I think he will always, if possible, work a little bit in academia.
It is a great feeling when you see your children reach their goals, especially when they are happy with the profession they've chosen. Our oldest son owns his own construction business and builds some amazing homes. This is what he should be doing -- you can see it in his face when he talks about his work. Our middle son is a boss and it's a perfect job for him. (Just ask his brothers, they'll be glad to tell you how bossy he's always been.) He was born a leader and has the determination and intelligence to do what seems like an overwhelming job, very effectively.
Yes, I am proud of all three of my sons. They've grown into wonderful, mature men. I'm amazed by all three of them and wonder what my husband and I did right. It could be that they have succeeded in spite of us and our mistakes.
It's also a little sad, in a way. I realize now that my boys don't really need my guidance any longer. That's a part of my life that is finished. They can make their way in this world and they are ready to guide their children towards their future.
This is a great place to be in life. My husband and I can sit back, enjoy our grown sons and their wives, and spoil, spoil, spoil as many grandchildren as they are willing to give us.
I think that makes my life pretty perfect.