This weekend was my 5th law school reunion, which seems impossible to believe. It feels like just yesterday that I was studying in the library, running around to classes, looking for a job, making outlines and writing papers. Walking around the campus with a fully pregnant belly, hand in hand with Josh, while my son was home with my inlaws was surreal. Fun and comfortable and exciting, but surreal all the same.
I happen to share my reunion year with my all time favorite ex-president, who graciously offered to give a talk at the law school this week since he was on campus for his own 35th law school reunion. My former classmates and I (and Josh) were buzzing with excitement at the opportunity to see President Clinton speak in such a small venue. We chatted over lunch about the possible topics- the election, the financial crisis, the war in Iraq, how would he cram it all into an hour talk? We were given the opportunity to submit questions to him beforehand, but no one knew what he would actually address.
His talk was great. Interesting, uplifting, reasonable, balanced. Clearly I'm biased, because I adore Bill Clinton, but even my conservative classmates agreed. He praised both McCain and Palin in his talk, and advocated for people to stop this atmosphere of hatred and vitriol against those candidates with whom they don't agree. We don't have to agree with someone, he insisted, but you can still acknowledge their accomplishments and good qualities. It was refreshing and ironic to hear him address this topic, since I'd just had two separate run-ins with friends when I said remotely kind things about the Republican ticket. There is no doubt that I am voting for Obama, but my only point was that all the candidates have some redeeming qualities, for sure.
President Clinton gave his own views about the new bailout plan, health care, and foreign relations, and talked a bit about his own time at the law school. The hour passed quickly, the question and answer session was brief, and soon he was being ushered down the aisle to leave the hall. A crowd gathered around him as he was leaving, and he took a few minutes to answer some questions from other alums. Most people left the hall, but Josh and I and a few friends sat around watching him field questions and charm the crowd.
Josh suggested we get closer to see if we could get a better picture of him while he was chatting, so we started squeezing our way through the aisle and around the crowd. I stood to the side, because I certainly didn't need to be squashed with my big pregnant belly, and I watched Josh finagle his way closer and closer. He waved me over as President Clinton's time drew to a close.
The crowd was smaller, and I was finally 5-6 people away from him, when he announced apologetically that he really did have to go because his classmates were waiting for him at his own reunion reception. He turned to leave, turned back for a moment, caught my eye, and REACHED OUT HIS HAND TO GRASP MINE AND PULL ME THROUGH THE CROWD. "When is your baby due?" he asked. And then I threw myself at him while professing my unending love.
Ok, not really, but I did almost die from excitement! He held my hand and leaned into me while Josh snapped a quick photo, just long enough for me to promise him that I'd name my little future Democrat William Jefferson if it turns out to be a boy. He laughed, gave my hand a little squeeze, and was quickly escorted out. I've been giddy with excitement ever since, and can't stop telling Josh how unbelievably soft Bill Clinton's hand was, and how grateful I am that he encouraged me to try to get closer for a picture.
The rest of the reunion was great. A casual reception in our law school's courtyard, quality time with some friends, a good dinner, and then it was over. Definitely, definitely, definitely, that minute and a half was the highlight of my day, though. Baby 002 will definitely have a good story to tell about how his or her pregnancy got me that picture.